The Secret Life of Pets offered a fun look at what pets do when their owners are away. The film’s loveable characters and child friendly humour made it easy to see why the 2016 film became a box office hit. Though its success created another franchise to Illumination Entertainment’s animation roster, one cannot help but wonder, judging by The Secret Life of Pets 2, if this series has already run out of steam.
Stringing together three thinly conceived arcs, the latest edition lacks the earnest comedic bite of its predecessor. This time around Max (Patton Oswalt) is coping with major life changes after his owner Katie gets married and has a a toddler, Liam. Constantly concerned for the child’s safety, Max’s helicopter parent ways cause him great anxiety. It will take a trip to the country, and encounter with a fearless dog named Rooster (Harrison Ford), for Max to realize that there is more to life than worrying.
While Max is away Gidget (Jenny Slate), finds herself on a mission to rescue Max’s favorite toy after it accidently falls into an apartment below full of cats. Speaking of cats, the hyperactive bunny Snowball (Kevin Hart), who now believes he is a superhero, is enlisted by a Shih Tzu named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), to help save a white tiger named Hu from an abusive circus owner.
Though young kids will enjoy the antics that the characters get themselves into, there is very little for adults to enjoy this time around. Outside of a charming moment with Pops (Dana Carvey), an old Basset Hound who starts his own puppy training school for dogs, one that encourages leaving “presents” in their owner’s shoes, many of the gags in the film fall flat. The lack of cohesion in the film is especially apparent when all the character threads converge to help Hu.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 does not stray too far from their patented formula. However, there is simply not enough for the characters to do to justify a feature film. The commentary on parental fears and the loving jabs about the selfish nature of cats could have easily been condensed into individual short films. Even Snowball, who was the scene-stealer of the first film, feels overused this time around.
The Blu-ray, which arrives today courtesy of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, does offer numerous extras that will keep youngsters occupied for over an hour. There are two mini-shorts, including the amusing “Minion Scouts”, in which the lovable Minions attempt to earn scout badges. The “Frame by Frame – How to Make a Flip Book” feature gives kids tips on how to make an effective animated flip book. The disc also includes the ”Pets with Jobs – Documentary “ which highlights animals who have jobs that range from saving lives to detecting chemicals to aiding individuals with autism.
Bonus Features: Mini- Movies : “Super Gidet” and “Minion Scouts”, The Making of the Mini-Movies, Deleted Scenes, A Tapestry of a Tail – The Making Of, How to Draw, Frame By Frame – How to Make a Flip Book, Character Pods, My Buddy and Me, The Further Adventures of Captain Snowball, Pets with Jobs – A Documentary, A Party Fit for a Pet, Relax the Cat: The Secret Life of Pet Massage, Pop’s Puppy Training School with Kevin Hart, Production Pets, Pet’s Yule Log, Lyric Videos.