Tanya Wummer

The long-awaited sequel to “Secret Life of Pets” opened on Friday, June 7th to mixed reviews. While some found the multiple plots too confusing, I thought it was  wonderful, with beautiful computer- generated imagery (CGI) and a lesson for all ages. “Secret Life of Pets 2” brought back the same cast of lovable animals and added a few more to the menagerie. The story is still centered around a Jack Russell Terrier named Max (played by Patton Oswaldt) and his adopted brother, Duke (played by Eric Stonestreet), a big lovable mutt.  Their owner, Katie, (played by Ellie Kemper) is now married and has a baby boy named Liam. Max is super protective of Liam and is afraid to let him out of his site. The family embarks on a trip to  the countryside to visit Uncle Shep’s farm where Max’s sense of protection and his own fears about life are put to the test. At the farm, the dogs encounter Rooster, a wise Welsh Sheep Dog, played with wit and  wisdom by the one and only Harrison Ford. Thanks to Rooster’s guidance, Max is able to become less protective of Liam and let him play freely. Max also finds his inner hero and rescues a baby lamb named Cotton from a dangerous cliff. Max surprises himself while impressing Rooster.  The family leaves the farm and returns to its home in the city, freer and wiser than before.

In addition to the main story, there are subplots about freeing a tiger from an abusive circus owner and rescuing Max’s favorite toy from a crazy cat lady. In all these situations, the animals overcome their own fears to band together to fight for what is right.

Besides the main characters, the movie features outstanding performances by Tiffany Haddish as Daisy, the shih tzu who teams up with a superhero  bunny rabbit, played by Kevin Hart.