The Secret Life of Pets 2 is out this weekend, and it’s one of the rare films that actually manages to surpass its predecessor.
The film is written by Brian Lynch, directed by Chris Renaud, and stars Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, and Jenny Slate. The story follows Max, Duke, Snowball, Gidget, and the rest of the gang (plus some new furry faces) to show what the pets are up to when their owners aren’t watching.
As mentioned, this flick trumps the first Secret Life of Pets. The first film was fine and enjoyable, but this sequel feels like the franchise has found its footing and settled into a groove. It has better, funnier, more memorable moments, and just generally feels like a more re-watchable movie.
If you have or have ever had pets, you’ll have a great time laughing at how accurate the portrayal of dogs and cats is. (Author’s note: my fiance couldn’t stop laughing at the film’s depiction of a cat waking up her owner, even hours after the movie ended.) Renaud and company truly nail what it’s like being a pet owner, down to the nitty gritty details.
There are actually three storylines going on here: Max and Duke’s, Snowball and Daisy’s, and Gidget’s. The three plot structure is nice because it keeps the movie going at an even clip, and it’ll keep kids’ attention better if you’re a parent. There are no real lulls during Secret Life of Pets 2.
Patton Oswalt helps elevate this film over the first Secret Life, as he makes for a much better Max than the previous voice actor. Oswalt’s natural voice is lighter, friendlier, and is an overall better fit for animation. As a result, you like Max more and feel a stronger connection to him.
Secret Life 2 definitely has more heart and sentiment than the first film, and that’s thanks mostly to the Max storyline. That’s where the movie’s message and moral lies, which is what takes it from just a funny flick (and it is plenty funny) to one with depth and emotion.
Even if you didn’t care for the first Secret Life of Pets, or you found it mediocre, give this sequel a chance. It’s a lot of fun for both kids and adults, with plenty of laughs and plenty of heart.