Kid Friendly To The Extreme: Our Review of ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - June 06, 2019
Kid Friendly To The Extreme: Our Review of ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’

Some of these things are just not like the other ones…

As Illumination Entertainment hopes to cash in on the success of the first installment of this franchise, with The Secret Life of Pets 2 they boil it all down even simpler and focus on their key demographics almost to a fault.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is the continuing story of Max (Patton Oswalt) and his pet friends following the secret lives that they live after their owners leave them for either work or school every day.

While there’s nothing wrong with The Secret Life of Pets 2 it steers away from some of the comedic sensibilities that made the first film a little more universally accepted and goes straight for the 3-7 year old demographic which makes for a film filled with some overt messages and highly entertaining set pieces, leaving character development and motivation more in the rear view mirror.

Director Chris Renaud is a veteran hand in the world of animation and along with his co-director Jonathan del Val they certainly develop a good looking movie.  However, with that being said the script needed work as this all felt very episodic in nature.

Writer Brian Lynch tackled this sequel by himself and while there’s nothing wrong with that the entire film felt like an exercise to get us from set piece to set piece.  Sure the slapstick comedy is fun and everyone buys into the material which will make the film an enjoyable exercise for the kids (and a problematic one for the adults paying admission) but it all feels like it is aiming for the middle.  Other films in the Illumination canon while also skewing young did enough to make the older crowds feel a little more engaged with the story telling, this on the other hand is just clunky life lessons and slap stick action comedy.

The voice work is solid as you’d expect with Patton Oswalt taking over for the voice of Max for reasons we obviously don’t have to rehash here.  And the rest of the ensemble returns with Kevin Hart doing a lot of the heavy lifting on this one, but the likes of Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll and the indomitable Harrison Ford add some nice flavour to it all as well.

We can’t deny that The Secret Life of Pets 2 is big bright colourful and fun, but with an obvious lack of story or character development it’s only asking us to laugh at the jokes and the funny situations.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s nice to get a little bit more.

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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