The Secret Lives of Pets 2 Movie Review: Too scatter-brained to be entertaining
The Secret Lives of Pets 2 attempts to show its characters in a brave avatar, having them face their challenges with remarkable pluck but it's all rather lost in the fragmented presentation that works on wild imagination rather than reality
The Secret Lives of Pets 2
U/A: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Cast: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Chris Renaud, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Harrison Ford
Director: Chris Renaud
This rather tame, light-weight sequel to the 2016 animated hit — which followed the misadventures of some Manhattan pets while their owners were at work, has precious little redeeming enough to warrant a second coming. This rather unwarranted second instalment highlights some endearing eccentricities Max (currently voiced by Patton Oswalt, since Louis CK fell out of favour following revelations of sexual misconduct) visits a farm where he has to tap into his more animalistic, confident side under the tutelage of a grizzled sheepdog named Rooster (voiced by Harrison Ford).
The writing is rather thin. The ideas within are good enough but they don't come together in a cohesive entertaining form. The narrative feels a little too scattered and incoherent with segmented asides and implausible connections. While Max is on that abovementioned track, the narrative shifts to a bunny, Snowball (voiced by Kevin Hart) enlisted by a Shih Tzu (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) to help rescue a baby tiger from a travelling circus. The bunny dons his Captain Snowball superhero outfit to get the better of the creepy, abusive Russian who runs the circus. And then there's another track that has Max's Pomeranian pal Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate) pretending to be a cat to infiltrate the apartment of an elderly cat lady overrun by cats in order to retrieve a toy left behind in her safe custody.
The film attempts to show its characters in a brave avatar, having them face their challenges with remarkable pluck but it's all rather lost in the fragmented presentation that works on wild imagination rather than reality.
The diverse threads of story forcibly converge in a conventional, end-game chase but it's no fun at all. The plotting is all over the place so it's up to the cutesy voicing and the all-too-familiar qualities of the animal characters to work up some modicum of attachment. There's a jumble of ideas fighting for lucidity here but the narrative run is such that you feel restive and unimpressed for most of the run time. A few sight gags and child-friendly writing does not cure the film of its 'repeat' deficiency. Though harmless, this one is by no means an all-out entertainer!
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