‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Review: Funny, Furry and Forgettable
Too scattered narratively to cohere, and yet somehow still funny enough to justify its existence, “The Secret Life of Pets 2” makes for an entertaining trifle. In this sequel to the 2016 animated hit — which followed the misadventures of some Manhattan pets while their owners were at work — our protagonist Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt, taking over from Louis CK, who fell from favor after 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 a surprisingly engaged-sounding Harrison Ford).
Back at home, the brazen bunny Snowball (voiced by Kevin Hart) dons his Captain Snowball superhero outfit after being enlisted by a sassy Shih Tzu (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) to help rescue a baby tiger from a traveling circus run by a creepy, abusive Russian. At the same time, Max’s Pomeranian pal Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate) has to pretend to be a cat to infiltrate the apartment of an elderly cat lady and her small feline army.
These stories, each involving a character adopting a different persona, don’t add up to much, though they do eventually converge in a conventional chase climax. But despite indifferent plotting, “Pets 2” has some winning gags, often cleverly built around these creatures’ all-too-familiar qualities; any cat owner who’s had their pet walk all over their laptop keyboard before knocking over a coffee mug will chuckle in recognition. The movie is a time-waster, but (mostly) in a good way.
The Secret Life of Pets 2
Rated PG for adorable animals in occasional peril, and a brief gag involving cat litter. Running time: 1 hour 26 minutes.