Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. / /USA, . , , , , . Screenplay by . Produced by , . Music by . Production Design by . Film Editing by .
Now that he has made his peace with Duke ( ), Max ( ) goes in search of a new neurotic obsession and quickly finds it: his owner has gotten married and given birth to a baby, at first a threat to his position as the home’s beloved favourite until he comes to care for the child and, before long, is anxiously overprotective of him. When Max and Duke are taken to the country on a family trip that sees them left outside with the other animals on the farm, he gets a lesson in healthy, independent living from a libertarian dog (voiced with unapologetic grumpiness ) who laments how sensitive we’ve all become. Back home in the concrete jungle, fluffy poodle Gidget ( loses Max’s favourite toy in the apartment of a cat lady whose feline companions number in legion, and new character Daisy ( ) enlists the crackpot bunny Snowball ( ) to help her save a tiger cub from cruel circus owners. The three main plot strands are eventually brought together quite neatly but there’s still a sense that the creative team has really stretched themselves a bit too hard to come up with a sequel to the surprise 2016 hit, cobbling together a bunch of story ideas and smoothing them over without really making them feel solid. There are plenty of chuckles and the animation is too bright and beautiful to make this film in the least bit unwatchable, but it never quite hits the mark despite a series of funny jokes and inspired voice performances.