In evaluating a movie, I try to keep in mind its intended audience. This computer-animated sequel is obviously geared to those who enjoyed the 2016 original…and the four year-olds in the audience seem to relish it, particularly the amusing end-credits.
Set again in New York City, the story revolves the Jack Russell terrier Max (Patton Oswalt) and his adopted Newfoundland-mix brother Duke (Eric Stonestreet). Problem is: stressed-out Max has become overly protective of young Liam (Henry Lynch), who is getting ready for pre-school.
But, before that, their owners (Ellie Kemper, Pete Holmes) are preparing for a weekend in the country. That means Max must leave his favorite Busy Bee squeaky toy in the care in the care of Gidget (Jenny Slate), a flirtatious Pomeranian, who promptly loses it and turns to the cat Chloe (Lake Bell) for help.
Meanwhile, Max, Duke and Liam are coping with their first visit to a real farm, the undisputed domain of a stately Welsh sheepdog named Rooster (Harrison Ford) who teaches Max about facing his fears and finding courage.
In a totally unrelated segment, back in the city, the superhero bunny Snowball (Kevin Hart) joins sassy Shih Tzu Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) in an attempt to rescue a timid white Siberian tiger cub from a cruel circus trainer (Nick Kroll).
Juggling Brian Lynch’s sprawling storylines, director Chris Renaud has once again assembled an excellent voice cast. As the protagonist, Patton Oswald seamlessly replaces disgraced comic Louis C.K., while Harrison Ford, voicing his first-ever animated role, steals the show as gruff Rooster.
Enjoy it now because – in two weeks – youngsters will want to see Disney’s “Toy Story 4.”
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a sweetly silly, slapstick 6, aimed at toddlers and pre-schoolers.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Read Susan Granger’s review of The Secret Life of Pets.