Do you remember The Secret Life of Pets?
No, of course you don’t!
You don’t remember it because it was a harmless little non-event that happened in theaters a couple of years ago and Louis CK might have been involved. The only thing I actually remembered was Kevin Hart as a bunny rabbit and the only reason I remember that is because it was the one thing in the movie I actually laughed at.
It’s not that The Secret Life of Pets was bad… it was okay. It was passable. It was a movie you watch once and then immediately forget about… not bad, not great… just okay. I don’t love it because it doesn’t deserve my love and I don’t hate it because it doesn’t deserve my hatred either.
But, at least it made me laugh at a psycho Kevin Hart bunny.
Because The Secret Life of Pets made money and Illumination is creatively bankrupt, of course we’ve gotten a sequel, The Secret Life of Pets 2 which is, again, not bad… not great… just okay. A middling midway between greatness and terribleness. It’s… forgettable at best.
It’s really a shame too because, as the movie opened, I actually thought they were trying to do something special. Max and Duke, the dogs from the first movie, have got some massive changes in their lives as their owner has gotten married and had a son. While Max doesn’t like children as a rule, he forms a special bond with this kid and becomes super protective of him, leading to Max becoming a nervous wreck when he considers all of the things in the world that might cause his boy harm.
Wait a minute… that’s Marlin’s character arch from Finding Nemo!
Later on, the duo and their family go to a farm where they meet Harrison Ford-dog who teaches Max that he shouldn’t worry about things and it works, I guess.
Meanwhile, Gidget has to learn to become a cat from Cloe after she accidentally loses Max’s favorite toy in a cat-filled old lady’s apartment.
Also meanwhile, Snowball plays superhero to save a tiger from a cruel circus.
As you can tell, the movie is pretty disconnected, telling three different stories and, while I’ll give this movie props for linking them all at the end, the movie feels like three episodes of a television series stitched into a feature length film.
Now, that being said, none of the movie is what I would call bad, it just exists. It commits no crime other than being painfully average and commits no sin other than being wholly and completely forgettable.
A couple of times, the movie makes you think that it’s going to do something unique and actually try to be more than the disposable entertainment that it is, but anything special is eventually dropped and any character development that results from the movie as-is fells undeserved and fake.
Now, again… this isn’t a bad movie. It’s relatively harmless and I have no strong objections to anything it did other than being meaningless. It’s a typical Illumination movie… it doesn’t try hard and it doesn’t want to. It’s amusing at times, but it’s completely shallow which is what it was always meant to be.
Take no risks… Risk no loss.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a thing that exists and that’s the most accurate thing that I can say about it.