The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (U)
Starring: Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Patton Oswalt, Lake Bell, Tiffany Haddish
Director: Jonathan del Val, Chris Renaud
Writer(s): Brian Lynch
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland
Mischievous terrier Max and lolloping mongrel Duke are delighted when their owner Katie marries her boyfriend Chuck. The couple raise a baby boy called Liam, who Max vows to protect. The family heads out of Manhattan to visit Chuck's uncle on a farm, where Max faces canine-intolerant cows, lackadaisical sheep and vicious foxes. Thankfully, veteran farm dog Rooster helps Max to overcome his insecurities and unleash the hero within.
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LondonNet Film Review
The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (U)
In a golden age of sophisticated, multi-layered and technically dazzling animations, which provoke debate, tug heartstrings or simply deliver an adrenaline-rush of pleasure, The Secret Life Of Pets 2 is neither the cat's meow nor the dog's... nether regions. Chris Renaud and Jonathan de Val co-direct a tail-wagging sequel to the award-winning 2016 computer-animated comedy, which imagined what our four-legged, feathered and finned friends get up to when our backs are turned. There were flashes of animal magic in the original and the second film has its moments too like a pampered Eskimo dog using a dishwater as a sauna (replete with cucumber slices over her eyes) or a litter of cats elevating one pooch to god-like status because she can resist the urge to chase a skittering red dot from a laser pen...
In many respects, screenwriter Brian Lynch teaches new dogs old tricks, replaying creature discomforts from the first film for gentle laughs as fluffy protagonists learn that you can't always gambol away from your fears. The narrative splinters into three loosely entwined threads, only one of which delivers satisfying character journeys, a wholesome life lesson and generous smatterings of suspense and giggles.
Mischievous terrier Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt) and lolloping mongrel Duke (Eric Stonestreet) are happily settled in Manhattan with owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) and her boyfriend Chuck (Pete Holmes). The couple marries and raises a baby boy Liam, who Max vows to protect. The family visits Chuck's uncle on a farm, where worrywart Max nervously encounters canine-intolerant cows, lackadaisical sheep and vicious foxes. Thankfully, veteran farm dog Rooster (Harrison Ford) helps the neurotic terrier to overcome insecurities and unleash the hero within.
Back in New York, Max's sweetheart Gidget (Jenny Slate) loses his favourite toy, Busy Bee, in the downstairs apartment owned by a crazy cat lady. She turns to sardonic house feline Chloe (Lake Bell) for tips on how to retrieve the rubber plaything. Also, maniacal white rabbit Snowball (Kevin Hart) promises to uphold "paw and order" in his blue and yellow superhero costume by helping a fearless Shih Tzu called Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) to rescue a caged white tiger from Happy Sergei's Circus Of Fun. "If tiger not do trick, tiger will become rug!" the sadistic ringmaster (Nick Kroll) snarls to his pack of hench-wolves.
The Secret Life Of Pets 2 is fully house-trained to keep young audiences engaged with slapstick and cartoon violence for 86 undemanding minutes. Max's story is the most rewarding and Ford's first vocal performance in an animated film strikes a pleasing balance between sardonic and avuncular. Hart and Haddish compete to steal the spotlight in an outlandish and largely superfluous subplot. Visuals are polished with impressive detail to characters' fur, wool and plumes even during the film's most hare-brained interludes.
- Kim Hu
To Thursday 12th December
Not showing at any
London cinemas this week.
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Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.
To Thursday 5th December
- Birmingham, Empire Birmingham Great Park
- Bishop's Stortford, Empire Bishop's Stortford
- Burnley, Reel Cinema Burnley
- Catterick Garrison, Empire Catterick Garrison
- Chippenham, Reel Cinema Chippenham
- Clydebank, Empire Clydebank
- Fareham, Reel Cinema Fareham
- High Wycombe, Empire High Wycombe
- Hull, Reel Cinema Hull
- Ipswich, Empire Ipswich
- Port Talbot, Reel Cinema Port Talbot
- Slough, Empire Slough
- Sunderland, Empire Sunderland
- Swindon, Empire Swindon Greenbridge
- Uckfield, Picturehouse Uckfield
- Widnes, Reel Cinema Widnes
- Wigan, Empire Wigan
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