The Secret Life of Pets 2 review – return of the funny furry friends

In this wittier and less frenetic sequel, the arrival of a newborn baby upends the world of pampered pooch Max

In 2016, the team behind Despicable Me and Minions pulled off a blatant act of flattery with The Secret Life of Pets – a family animation imagining what the animals of a New York apartment block got up to when their owners were at work. Its storyline felt so much like Toy Story with animals, you had to wonder if they got the lawyers in to give the script a once over. Now here’s that Hollywood rarity – a sequel that’s better than the original. It’s wittier, less frenetic and introduces fresh characters and a nice scene of strategic furball vomming.

In the first movie, Max, a dependable jack russell terrier, had his world turned upside down when his owner brought home a slobbering rescue dog; this time it’s her newborn baby. Patton Oswalt seamlessly replaces Louis CK as the voice of Max, who soon accepts the sprog as the newest member of the pack. But, like an overanxious parent, he begins to see danger everywhere.

On a family holiday to a farm, he meets a tough guy sheepdog called Rooster – nicely voiced by Harrison Ford with growling cowboy gruffness. If this were a Pixar movie, it would go to a darker place of abandonment, asking what happens to pets who for years have dutifully performed the role of baby substitute when their owners have actual babies. Instead, the focus here is on Rooster curing Max of his helicopter parenting. Back in the New York apartment block, Gidget the fluffball pomeranian infiltrates a cat lady’s apartment and there’s a plot involving a circus tiger.

The movie is good, silly fun with throwaway gags galore and some very funny scenes that will appeal to pet owners – one involving feral cats bamboozled by the red dot of laser pointer.


Cath Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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