Review: SLoP 2: SLoPpy Seconds
Look, the best joke in the first Secret Life of Pets is that if you do the trendy thing of acronym-ing it's title, it becomes SLoP, which is funny because it's true.
Honestly, I can't even say I remember the first movie very well. I did see it. I mostly recall that I didn't really like it that much. So, as you can probably deduce, I wasn't entirely looking forward to the sequel. The trailers also prominently featured coprophagia, so that wasn't helping anything.
But about those trailers— if you take out the inter-titles and the music, you just watched that scene in the movie. That's exactly how it's cut in the movie. All of the trailers are like that. They're just scenes from the movie. The movie is cut like a trailer.
And the weirdest thing about this movie is that, somehow, despite being just scenes from the movie, this is a case of bad trailers being way worse than the actual movie. This is a very weird movie.
Okay, so anyway, there's the dog from the first movie, Max, who used to be voiced by Louis C.K. but is now voiced by Patton Oswalt because life comes at you fast. Max's owner meets a man, marries him, has a kid and that kid grows to pre-school age all in the first ten minutes of the movie, because The Secret Life of Pets comes at you fast. Max takes on the role of over-protective dog for this kid, to the point he develops a nervous tic of scratching himself worrying about the youngin'. As a result he is taken to the vet and given a cone to wear to stop the scratching. And then the family goes on a trip to a nice farm upstate, where he meets Rooster (Harrison Ford) and a farm dog who is not taking any of this neurotic city stuff as he helps Max calm the heck down. I think that was at one point the story of The Secret Life of Pets 2, but then they got notes from the studio asking them to bring back all the marketable characters from the first story, and Max, the nominal protagonist of the movies, then becomes the b-plot.
The main plot actually revolves around the rabbit Snowball (Kevin Hart) and a new dog named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) trying to rescue a tiger named Hu (Jean Dujardin) from the circus. There's also a c-plot where Max gives his favorite toy to Gidget (Jenny Slate) for safe-keeping while he's at the farm, and she of course instantly loses it and must rescue from the resident crazy cat lady's apartment, allowing cat Chloe (Lake Bell) to do something by, well, actually that was already covered in the trailer linked up top.
Jenny Slate, who narrowly avoided being typecast forever as fluffy, white critters after playing both Gidget and Assistant Mayor Belwether back in 2016 was probably my favorite vocal performance of the movie. Her character has an obvious unrequited crush on Max, and a bizarre fantasy sequence where she imagines herself married, human-style, to Max, while they together raise his squeaky toy, was definitely my favorite scene. Harrison Ford, however, is obviously here for the paycheck. However, much like his performance of Han Solo in Star Wars (I really don't believe in any of this, but I'm a professional, so I'm going to do my best, darnit!) probably mirrored his own take on the material while managing to be the perfect take on the character. Rooster is a character who clearly does not give a crap, so once again it works.
I feel like this movie just kind of threw everything up against the wall to see what stuck, and then just kept everything even if it didn't. It's worth seeing, eventually. When it's like a two dollar rental. It really is a weird movie, which is the part about it that is worth the two buck rental. Getting the farm plot, the tiger plot and the cat plot to all line up is actually pretty impressive. I guess that's why the trailers did this movie such a disservice. Divorced of context they seem like they're from totally different movies. Put together, it's kind of impressive they all make sense.
On the other hand, it's a comedy movie where the best joke is still the unintentional acronym formed by the title. And it's not even an original joke anymore. That's a problem.