In Brief: Rarely is a sequel better than the original. In this case let’s make that light years better.
I wasn’t all that fond of the first film. The whole psycho rabbit thing didn’t work. Other than a few off-plot quirky pet things — most of which you saw in the trailer — the movie was just a common chase flick done animated kid’s style.
We now move to a much-improved part two. Max and Duke’s keeper Katie marries and has a kid. Max decides the child needs protected from the big, bad world and gets so stressed out that he ends up with a cone of shame. The solution is found in a family trip to the country and an encounter with a macho farm dog, Rooster.
Meanwhile, the rabbit, Snowball has mellowed and now fancies himself a super hero. He and a new character, the beautiful dog Daisy engage in the rescue of a young tiger being abused by the owner of a circus and his evil wolves.
Another plot line has Max’s favorite toy in danger and Ginger has to learn how to be a cat.
These threads, and more zip along and then merge for the film’s flawed but expected climax. If there is a downside to this film, it’s the third act. Getting there, however, is laugh-out-loud funny. The zingers fairly fly. The good news is that many of them are intended for adults and they mostly go over the heads of younger audiences.
Give credit to writer Brian Lynch. He also wrote the first film and the somewhat disappointing but funny in spots, “Minions.” When Lynch is on, he’s really on, and in this one he gives us one guffaw-inducing sequence after another.
Almost as much fun is the cast giving voice to the characters. Oswald Patton does the voice work for the cone of shame wearing Max. He replaces Louis C.K. who is now wearing a cone-of-shame of his own.
Tiffany Haddish comes on board as Daisy. She and Harrison Ford’s voicing of the kingly Rooster practically steal the movie. They — and the other cast members — have as much fun with “The Secret Life of Pets 2” as you will.
It’s not a secret that a second film — especially of the animated variety — rarely tops the first. In spite of being over-promoted and putting the characters in nearly every TV commercial you see these days, this is a fun, family-friendly flick that is a heavy improvement over the original.
Directors: Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val
Stars: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Nick Kroll
Fun and funny flick that is family friendly and gets a friendly Friday Flicks with Gary rating of 4 on the 0 to 5 scale.
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Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.