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Laramie Movie Scope: The Secret Life of Pets 2

Surprisingly good animated comedy

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 2, 2019 – I skipped this movie when it was in theaters, but finally watched it when the DVD landed in my mailbox for awards season. I was not expecting much, but it turns out to be a surprisingly good animated comedy. It will probably make my top 10 list for the year's best animated films.

I did not see the first film on which this sequel is based, so I cannot compare them, but I found this movie to be quite self-contained, and entertaining in its own right, with interesting characters and a multi-pronged plot.

The plot revolves mostly around dogs and cats, with a few other animals in the mix, notably a rabbit, a white tiger and a laser-wielding guinea pig named Norman. One of the main characters is Max, a terrier with a nervous scratch. He is like a Woody Allen character, neurotic, talky, in therapy, and very anxious over the safety of a young boy, Liam, the son of Katie and Chuck, the family that dogs Max and Duke live with.

Duke is as laid back and calm as Max is nervous. Max is forced to wear a cone to stop his nervous scratching, until the family and dogs visit a farm, where Max is confronted by Rooster, a farm dog, who forces him to overcome his fears. Max, like the other dogs featured in this film, are heroes. Even a rabbit and some anonymous cats do some heroic things.

Another dog, Gidget, must brave a horde of cats in a cat lady's house, when she loses Max's favorite toy, Busy Bee. In order to get the toy back, Gidget must learn to disguise herself as a cat and infiltrate the house. One of the funniest scenes in the movie has Gidget learning how to be a cat from a lazy fat cat named Chloe. Gidget is also aided on her mission by Norman, a guinea pig.

Yet another heroic dog, Daisy, embarks on a mission to free a white tiger from the clutches of Sergei, a sadistic circus owner. She persuades Snowball, a rabbit with delusions of being a superhero, to help her free the tiger. This involves car chases and jumping onto a moving train.

There are a number of subplots in this film, but they work together nicely, and there is plenty of action and comedy in all of them. In the end, some of the subplots are merged. The animation is colorful and sharp, and the voice work by Harrison Ford (Rooster) Kevin Hart (Snowball) Patton Oswalt (Max) Tiffany Haddish (Daisy) Nick Kroll (Sergei) Chris Renaud (Norman) Dana Carvey and others is very effective.

There are some additional scenes during the credits, including very funny videos of pets and people in everyday life interacting in unusual ways. I suspect these videos were shared online on sites like YouTube. There is a video, for instance, of a dog on his hind feet, pushing a baby stroller. This movie is fun all the way through. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright 2019 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]