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Film Review —A Now Less ‘Secret Life’

Bobby Moynihan as Mel, Lake Bell as Chloe, Hannibal Buress as Buddy and Jenny Slate as Gidget in "The Secret Life of Pets 2."
Patton Oswalt as Max and Eric Stonestreet as Duke in "the Secret Life of Pets 2."

Posted Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 6:09 pm

By Adam Serman

2016’s The Secret Life of Pets was Illumination’s first attempt at a new IP since 2011’s Hop. Unlike Hop – which was only moderately successful – The Secret Life of Pets made more than 10 times its budget at the box office and became the most profitable release of 2016. Suffice to say, Illumination had another franchise alongside Despicable Me, and a sequel was quickly greenlit. Three years later, here we are with The Secret Life of Pets 2.

And… its okay.

Unlike the first movie, which focused mainly on the relationship between Max (now voiced by Patton Oswalt) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet), this sequel focuses on three separate plot lines. Katie (Ellie Kemper) – the dogs’ owner – gets married and has a kid, who the dogs quickly grow attached to, resulting in Max becoming overprotective. Snowball (Kevin Hart) sets off to free a white tiger from a sadistic circus owner (Nick Kroll). Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to save Max’s favorite toy from a cat-infested apartment while the latter goes on a trip to a farm with his family.

If this all sounds bare-boned, that’s because it is. The plots come off more as excuses for animal hijinks and barely mesh together thematically. The character arcs all come off as superficial as well.

Its not a terrible film, there are some legitimately funny bits, and the action sequence at the end is creative. However, if you’re in the mood for a better film with non-human creatures as the focus, it would be better to go see Godzilla: King of the Monsters again.


The Secret Life of Pets 2 hit theaters on Friday, June 5, and is distributed by Universal Pictures.

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