A friend of mine put a spy camera in his own house to see what his pets are up to while the humans left home on their various affairs. He wanted to see if one of his doggies went on a destructive binge when the people left. He did. Many of us have have wondered what our pets do while we go about in the larger world. In “The Secret Life of Pets 2” we enter the pets only world. They have a livelier personal life than we might think.
Oscar nominated director and producer Chris Renaud brought this film to life as he has done with such recent favorites as “Despicable Me,” “The Lorax,” and the original “The Secret Life of Pets,” among others. He has enjoyed a grand career as a producer and director. Here he even has a voice part in his own movie. I take that as proof of his enthusiasm for the art of film making. He has a partner in the directorial tasks in first time director Jonathan del Val. Del Val has worked as an animator on five animated children’s films directed by his co-director, Renaud.
Script writer Brian Lynch has also teamed with Renaud by writing “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Minions” both successful projects which involved Renaud and del Val. Lynch also had walk on parts in “Chasing Amy” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” two Kevin Smith films that rank among my secret pleasures to watch.
Famous names that take on the job of voicing the animated creatures on screen include Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford and Dana Carvey. I will let those of you old enough to read guess which famous actor voices which cartoon character.
The silly, fanciful tale has three loosely connected threads. Snowball, a pet bunny that has delusions of super hero status finds some neighbor hood pets to release a Siberian tiger cub from ill users in a Russian circus. Gidget, a fluffy air head has a favorite toy of her imagined boyfriend, Max, captured by the local cat lady’s felines. Max, a cowardly terrier, goes to the country where he finds his courage by saving an endangered lamb and emulating the farm cattle dog. Sort of like watching a “Shaft” movie to build up one’s swagger.
Mixed in with a lot of nonsense we can appreciate a brilliant scene where Gidget, disguised as a cat, becomes the cat queen by devouring the red dot from a laser pointer.
This movie comes across as very light weight and cannot be compared with the truly excellent and wonderful “Toy Story 4,” also current. I saw “Pets” with a theater filled with small children and their minders. They laughed out loud at the antics on screen. I take that as their endorsement.