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Published On: Thu, Jun 6th, 2019

The Secret Life of Pets 2 gets bogged with too many stories but is cute and fun

The Secret Life of Pets 2, opening in theaters on June 7, 2019, takes us back into the lives of Max (Patton Oswalt) the terrier and his friends as we explore life again from the point of view of our pets.  While many of the characters from the original are included in the film, what was left out was a sense of continuity for the story.

The film opens with Max explaining how he’s never been fond of children and quickly moves through the time that has lapsed since we last saw him.  His owner is now married and has had a baby. Much to his surprise, Max goes from fearing/avoiding/dreading contact with the little boy to loving and protecting him so much that he’s developed a bit of a neurosis as he realizes how dangerous the world can be for a toddler.  Things only get worse for Max as the family takes a vacation on a farm completely changing his world. You would think that the entire film would then focus on that story and show how Max learns from the brave farm dog, Rooster (Harrison Ford), and develops courage through a series of comical situations in the country.  That would have been enough for me. But… nope.

Here’s where things start going off the tracks in my opinion.  There are two more stories added! Max has asked his “girlfriend” Gidget to take care of his favorite squeaky toy while he’s away.  Of course, Gidget doesn’t do a good job and we follow a storyline of her adventure to rescue Busy Bee from the dozens of felines in the building’s cat lady apartment.  One little side story would have been okay, but no. There’s another one.

A completely separate side story involving Snowball the bunny involves the rescue of a tiger from the zoo.  Folks, I’m not making this up. While Snowball (Kevin Hart) is hilarious because he believes he’s a superhero, this storyline feels completely separate from the rest of the film.  Not to mention, there was so much more that could have been done with a tiger that a bunny and shitzu save and escort back to their apartment building….completely unnoticed…in New York City.  But that’s not developed at all. I mean, the bunny and shitzu fight off four vicious wolves, but the tiger isn’t really played up at all.

It almost seems as though the writers were trying to include too many messages in the overall production.  Maybe this works for a child’s shorter attention span, but it felt very disjointed to me. In the end, all three stories converge into one ending but it still feels like there was just too much going on.  Watching this in one sitting felt like I was binge watching a cartoon series on Netflix. But with all of that, it’s still a cute film for pet-lovers and kids. If you’re looking for a light-hearted animated film for your kids this summer, this one will work.  But, if your kids are a bit on the older side, I’d suggest waiting for it to come out on video or look for a lower-priced matinee showing. It’s very cute and has lots of very funny sequences in it with great voice talent, but even days later, I still can’t get over how overloaded and disconnected it all felt to me.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 gets 6 out of 10 stars

Review by Debbie Sage

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 – In Theaters June 7

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | #TheSecretLifeofPets2

Rob Weidow’s full review of The Secret Life of Pets 2 HERE

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