The laughs flow from beginning to end as we fall back into step with the animal residents of a New York apartment block. Max and Duke are back, and so are the rest of the gang as The Secret Life of Pets 2 hits the big screen on 20 June.
We got all dressed up for a red carpet and photo opps at the Australian premiere where stars Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish made a special appearance to introduce the movie.
As the voices of white bunny, Snowball and newcomer Daisy the Shihtzu, Hart and Haddish play off one another to great comic effect as the pair team up to free Hu the white circus tiger cub, from the clutches of an evil Russian. We are with them every step of the way as the domesticated Snowball finds his inner superhero to defeat the circus wolves, wrestle a crazy monkey and save Hu from a horrid existence. I have to admit I feel Hart is the star of this instalment, endowing Snowball with a charm and likeability that really shows how much the bunny has changed since he went from outlaw to adored pet.
And what of the rest of the gang? I feel as though this sequel is to a degree an introduction to the next generation, a fitting theme indeed. Kids, human and animal, take our focus in each individual adventure undertaken by our favourite band of animals.
Max (Patton Oswalt) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) have seen their family grow with owner Katie marrying and having a child, Liam. The addition of this small person has Max acting like a neurotic parent but when the family escapes the city for a farm retreat he has a raw awakening with the help of down to earth Alsatian Rooster, voiced by the inimitable Harrison Ford. Away from his creature comforts and encouraged to become one with nature, Max discovers a side of himself he didn’t even know was there.
The same is true of the hilarious Gidget (Jenny Slate), Max’s neighbour who is harbouring a not-so-secret crush on our leading canine. Charged with caring for his favourite toy while he’s away it’s not long before adventure befalls the Pomeranian pup when the toy lands in an apartment teeming with cats, so she calls on Chloe (Lake Bell) for help.
The wonderful message piercing the narrative of this endearing sequel, and one Haddish herself reiterated last night, is to never be afraid to help others and to ask for help when you need it. Battles are fought, lessons are learnt, a lot of dogs dress like cats and the humour never falters for a minute in this heart-warming and hilarious follow-up to the much loved The Secret Life of Pets (2016).
The perfect family movie, The Secret Life of Pets 2 lands, on its feet, in cinemas across Australia from 20 June 2019.
Run Time: 1h 26 mins