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The Secret Life of Pets 2

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
The Secret Life of Pets 2 Movie Poster Image
Sequel reduces dark comedy, ups laughs, keeps rude humor.
  • PG
  • 2019
  • 86 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 26 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 11 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Intended to entertain, rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Life is constantly changing; you can either run away from it or run at it. Teamwork is a clear theme; the animals have to work together.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Two female dogs are brave and confident; Gidget goes the extra mile to keep her commitment, and Daisy acts with compassion to save a mistreated animal. A male dog, Max, acts maternally to a human baby. Snowball and Daisy work together to help a tiger.

Violence & Scariness

Slapstick animated comedy, such as cats punching each other for a toy. Two animals throw knives at each other. It's implied that a circus animal is being mistreated (he cowers; the villain cracks a whip near him). Menacing wolves chase characters, snapping their jaws. Characters are in peril. A fox attacks a dog, is then attacked by another dog. A bad guy is hit by a car. Animal shot out of a cannon. Dog bites a pig's tail; it reacts in pain. In all instances, no one is really injured. Animal is shot with a dart gun; it goes to sleep. Dog in a rural area hears sounds of nature, is scared. Red Riding Hood story is told (including the getting eaten part).

Sexy Stuff

Pet's owner gets married, has a baby. Gidget is in love with Max; she fantasizes that they're married and kiss.

Language

"Pissed" is the strongest language; the rest are mostly insults meant to get a laugh: "dope," "jerk," "idiot," "oaf," "stupid," "turd."

Consumerism

Associated product tie-ins outside the movie: toys, books, games, apparel, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A cat who says her owner gave her catnip acts high for comic effect.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Secret Life of Pets 2 is the sequel to the 2016 animated comedy about what pets do when their humans aren't home. It continues the story of Max (now voiced by Patton Oswalt) as his owner gets married and has a baby. A subplot has Snowball (Kevin Hart) and new dog Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) working together to rescue an abused tiger from a Russian circus that has menacing wolves and a cartoonishly villainous lion tamer. The dark humor and peril are toned down from the original, with more of a shift to slapstick violence that's meant to be funny. Animals punch and throw knives at one another, and a bad guy is hit by a car, but no one is ever really injured. Language includes "pissed," put-downs ("jerk," "idiot," "stupid," etc.), and potty humor ("turd"). And there's a scene in which a cat is high on catnip. Messages for parents revolve around Max's anxiety about keeping his owner's toddler safe; his helicopter ways are questioned by a dog named Rooster (Harrison Ford), who's more of a let-them-get-hurt-and-learn kind of canine. For kids, though, the main moral of the story is to face and embrace the changes life inevitably brings.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDeltastateMs June 8, 2019

Wasn't Impressed

Warning: bit of a spolier post for Secret Life of Pets 2. It was not what I thought at all. My little one (age 4) has loved Secret Life of Pets the original,... Continue reading
Adult Written byKJsMomma June 8, 2019

Too much for little ones

My daughter ended up being terrified by the circus guy that was physically abusing an adorable tiger. She ended up crying and we had to leave the movie early. S... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 7, 2019

Amazing

I loved this film so much that I actually liked it better than the first one. Even though I enjoyed the first one too, I think the sequel makes the first one lo... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byNadia Cloud June 17, 2019

Very predictable and has poor character development.

Secret Life of Pets 2 is very predictable. You will guess the entire story from beginning to end. Some of the characters were also not well developed such as Ch... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2, dog Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt, replacing scandal-ridden comic Louis C.K.) is consumed with worry about protecting his owner's toddler from danger. This leads to a visit to a relative's farm, where Max is challenged to face his fears. Meanwhile, outspoken bunny Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes he's a superhero and joins forces with shih tzu Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) to rescue a tiger named Hu from a cruel circus owner.

Is it any good?

This animated sequel is basically a reworking of City Slickers, but that's the beauty of making movies for kids: Old stories are all new to them. At the farm, Max -- who's full of anxiety about the baby's safety -- meets gruff, tough older dog Rooster (Harrison Ford), who herds cattle with ease and isn't having any of Max's overcautiousness. Parents will get that the film is contrasting different kinds of parenting, but to make it more kid-relatable, Max says that the lesson is about embracing change -- even though that message doesn't exactly match up with the story.

Meanwhile, the pets who are left behind get involved in two different rescue missions, which are even lighter on messages and heavier on humor. Pomeranian Gidget (Jenny Slate) must recover a coveted toy from a nest of cats, which means going undercover as a feline -- complete with training from the aloof and seditious puss Chloe (Lake Bell). The other team is led by Snowball (Kevin Hart), who, believing he's a superhero because his child owner dresses him as one, is given a mission by a new dog, shih tzu Daisy (Tiffany Haddish). Haddish proves once again that she's the perfect foil to Hart, and their chemistry creates lots of laughs while also showcasing their unique sense of teamwork. People who watched the original The Secret Life of Pets generally fell into two camps: those who loved it and those who found it to be average (and maybe a little too scary). This sequel is a slight departure and most likely will result in those camps switching their opinions. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how parents choose to allow their kids to play: Do parents let kids run loose and face potential injury, or do they rein them in to make sure they stay safe? What are the pros and cons of each approach?

  • How do Daisy and Snowball use teamwork to save Hu? How does Gidget prepare to recover the toy? Do you think teamwork is used in that scenario? Why or why not?

  • At the end of the film, Max says, "you never know what life is going to throw at you," and that you can deal with it by "running away from it" or "run at it." What does he mean? Have you faced any big choices? 

  • How do Gidget and Daisy separately show perseverance? Why is that an important character strength?

  • How does this movie compare to the original? Which do you prefer, and why?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animals

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