The Secret Life of Pets 2 Parent Guide
Three plots is one too many - and one of them is far too violent for the young viewers for whom this film was made.
Parent Movie Review
If you’re the doting owner of a “fur baby”, you might not want to watch The Secret Life of Pets 2. The antics these animals get up to during the day are enough to prevent any pet owner from ever leaving home again.
The film opens with Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt), the lovable and mildly neurotic star of the prequel. Max’s anxiety really takes off when his owner marries and has a baby, giving Max a consuming need to protect the infant from all dangers, real or imagined. Max’s owner takes him to the vet, where he is fitted with a “cone of shame” to stop his stress-induced compulsive scratching. (The scene in the waiting room is one of the funniest in the movie.) And then, when the family heads off for a family vacation to a farm, Max is forced to confront a whole new set of potential dangers.
Max isn’t alone in a perilous world…his fellow apartment dwellers are facing their own challenges. Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate), the fluffy neighbor dog, who has been entrusted with Max’s beloved chew toy, manages to drop it down the fire escape. To her horror, it lands in an apartment owned by a crazy cat lady. The resident horde of cats hiss menacingly when Gidget tries to retrieve it. So, she turns to Chloe (voiced by Lake Bell), a sardonic neighboring feline, and asks for instruction in The Way of the Cat. Watching Chloe train Gidget to masquerade as a cat is another laugh out loud scene in the film
As if juggling two plots isn’t enough, this production adds a third, which is probably one too many for young viewers. Snowball the rabbit (voiced loudly and irritatingly by Kevin Hart) is convinced he is a superhero and gets recruited by Daisy (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) to rescue a lion cub from a circus where he is being mistreated. And this plot is where the movie goes over the cliff. I assumed this movie was aimed at young children, but there is far too much violence in this plot for kids. The owner of the circus (voiced by Nick Kroll) whips the tiger, shoots him with a tranquilizer gun, threatens him with a revolver and a taser, repeatedly vows to turn animals into coats or rugs, and sets wolves on other animals. His security monkey throws knives at Snowball, flips him on the ground, and chases him with flaming torches. Add in a chase on the roof of a train and a man being run into by a car (twice) and this film is far too violent for the younger audience it’s aimed at.
And that’s unfortunate because the first two plots are entertaining. Gidget’s feline masquerade and her mission to reclaim the chew toy are lots of fun. But the top story is the one centering around Max – and it’s the one with the best message for nervous or fearful young viewers. While on the farm, Max is awed by the farm dog, known as Rooster and perfectly voiced by Harrison Ford. As Max tries to earn the respect of the laconic senior canine, he discovers that it’s better to face real challenges and learn from them than to run from every disaster scenario he can imagine. As he says, “You never know what life is going to throw at you. You have two choices: run from it or run at it.” Ironically, The Secret Life of Pets contains too much violent content for the young viewers who need to hear that message.Directed by Chris Renaud and Jonathan del Val. Starring Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart . Running time: 86 minutes. Theatrical release June 7, 2019. Updated June 12, 2019
Watch the trailer for The Secret Life of Pets 2
The Secret Life of Pets 2
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Secret Life of Pets 2 rated PG? The Secret Life of Pets 2 is rated PG by the MPAA for some action and rude humor.
Violence: A cat hits her owner in the face to wake her up and then coughs up a hairball on to her blanket. We see a clip from a tv show where a superhero throws a villain into the sun. There are several scenes of reckless driving, some involving a guinea pig on a small vehicle and some involving an old lady driving a car, which is being steered by cats. A cat screams and claws its owner. Cats hiss and fight over a squeaky toy. A rabbit imagines an animated scenario where he is a superhero trouncing villains who are menacing a girl. The rabbit yells in a frightening manner. There are moments of peril when animals are chased by other animals, including wolves. A man repeatedly whips a tiger cub. A repeatedly threatens to turn animals into rugs or coats. A dog is stalked and chased by a fox. Another dog attacks the fox and chases it off. A cat pushes dogs off the top of a high bookshelf. A tiger cub rips a bumper off a parked car. A dog bites a pig on the tail. There are moments of peril when a dog rescues a lamb before it can fall into a chasm. A monkey judo flips a rabbit. A man shoots a tiger with a tranquilizer gun and threatens him with a taser. Wolves fall off the roof of a moving train. A monkey throws knives at a rabbit, who throws one back and manages to affix him to the wall. A monkey chases a rabbit with flaming torches. A dog gets stuck in a cannon. A monkey is stuffed in a cannon and shot out of it. A man is bitten by a dog and attacked by a rabbit. A man pulls a gun on a tiger. A man is hit by a car, which then backs up and hits him again.
Sexual Content: A dog imagines kissing another dog.
Profanity: There is rare, minor name calling, involving words like “idiot”, “dopes” and “rat turd”.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A cat is given catnip by her owner and acts like she’s stoned.
Page last updated June 12, 2019
The Secret Life of Pets 2 Parents' Guide
Max is so anxious he sees danger everywhere. Have you ever felt anxious even when there was no reason for it? What can you do to help manage those anxious feelings? Do you think confronting your fears would be helpful? How can parents help?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Snowball likes to pretend he’s a superhero but Dog Man is the real thing. Written by kid-favorite author Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants), Dog Man is part human, part dog, and fully devoted to the cause of justice. Early readers will enjoy Ken T Seth’s Superhero Bunny: The Origin of the Bunny which tells the tale of Bonnie the bunny, who becomes a hero when she has to find her kidnapped family.
Kids struggling with anxiety can pick up some support from Laurie Wright’s picture book, I Can Handle It. And Julie Kraulis’s lovely picture book, Whimsy’s Heavy Things, can help kids confront their fears instead of suppressing or running from them.
Related home video titles:
The story of Max and his neighbors begins in The Secret Life of Pets.
Like the best pets, Max has a consuming need to protect his owner. My Dog Skip tells the story of a dog who truly becomes the best friend of a shy, bullied young boy.\
Kids struggling with anxiety, depression or mental illness (and their families) will enjoy the sweet animated tale, Wonder Park.
Max and his friends aren’t the only animals having adventures. In G-Force, intrepid guinea pigs take on a dangerous mission to stop a man determined to control the world. And in Cats and Dogs, a canine force protects the world from power-hungry cats seeking global domination.