THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 – Review by Susan Granger

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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.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.