The Secret Life of Pets 2 2019 ***

The cheerful minion pictured struggling to control a pack of dogs during the opening logos of Chris Renaud’s sequel tells a story; the Illumination studio is best known for the Despicable Me franchise, and must have breathed a collective sigh of relief when Secret Life of Pets proved a bona fide hit, the sixth biggest film of 2016. This animated follow-up offers much the same fare, with Patton Oswalt replacing Louis C.K. as the central character, Max, but the rest of the cats and dogs much the same as before. A new addition, Rooster (Harrison Ford) is on hand as a farm pooch who teaches Max to stand up for himself; elsewhere there’s diversions into the world of circus animals, while Jenny Slate’s Gidget provides the biggest laughs as the tiny dog passes herself off as a cat to infiltrate a cat lady’s cat-infested house. The sunny disposition that’s Illumination’s trademark so far is much in evidence here; The Secret Life of Pets franchise makes it look easy to entertain families, with simple, pleasing gags that offer universal appeal.


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