Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” “X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” the indie drama “Mouthpiece” and the rockumentary “Echo in the Canyon.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and the indie drama “Mouthpiece.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the housebroken sequel “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” the cosmic bonfire of CGI flames “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and the nostalgic 60s doc “Echoes in the Canyon” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
You get three stories for the price of one in the 100% Louis CK-free “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” The episodic sequel to the 2016 animated hit front loads a lot of plot into its snappy 87 minutes but doesn’t forget to blend in life messages for kids on finding inner courage. “The first step in not being afraid,” says wily old sheepdog Rooster (Harrison Ford), “is acting like you are not afraid.”
Jack Russell Terrier Max, previously voiced by CK, now sounds like Patton Oswalt. He and his odd couple pal, the shaggy Newfoundland mix Duke (Eric Stonestreet), now must now share their Brooklyn home with a new roommate, their owner’s (Ellie Kemper) new baby Liam. The toddler’s presence raises Max anxiety level—”He is perfect,” Max says fretfully, “and I will keep him safe.”—until the family takes a trip to the country and he meets Rooster, a Yoda-like character who teaches him to be himself and not be an overprotective helicopter parent for Liam.
Meanwhile Max’s girlfriend, a vivacious Pomeranian named Gidget (Jenny Slate), must take lessons in how to act like a tabby from her catnip-loving feline friend Chloe (Lake Bell) to rescue Max’s favorite squeaky toy from an apartment overrun by cats.
Then, when Molly (Kiely Renaud) starts dressing bunny and former flushed pet Snowball (Kevin Hart) in cute superhero pajamas he believes the hype and behave like a movie crime fighter. His skills are tested when a brave Shih Tzu named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) asks him to assist on a dangerous mission. “I don’t mean to sound dramatic,” she says, “but a poor defenseless animal needs saving.”
Themes of inner courage and facing fears are woven through each story and come together the last twenty minutes or so as the pets all join forces.
The Gidget and Snowball storylines have the kind of playfulness you expect from Illumination, the company that gave us the anarchic jellybean-shaped Minions. Max’s life-altering adventures on the farm, which take up a great deal of the scant running time, feels borrowed from other, better kid-friendly fare like the “Toy Story” franchise.
The voice work is a mixed bag. Ford is a howl as the gruff old timer who imparts life-changing advice. If they do another of these “Pets” movies he should graduate to main character status. Slate is a hyperactive bundle of energy and Hart and Haddish are a fun duo that add much spark to their segment. Oswalt, so distinctive in “Ratatouille,” doesn’t teach Max any new tricks.
“The Secret Life of Pets 2” feels like three episodes of a “Pets” television show banged together to (almost) feature length. Pet lovers may recognize and enjoy some of the behavior—a cat coughing up a hairball on her sleeping owner and the protective nature of Max and Rooster—but it won’t beat spending the day with your real-life, cuddly pet.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with guest host Ken Connors to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the housebroken sequel “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” the cosmic bonfire of CGI flames “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and the nostalgic 60s doc “Echoes in the Canyon.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s two big releases, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” with Zac Efron, Adam DeVine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza and the animated kid’s flick “The Secret Life of Pets,” starring the voices of Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Steve Coogan and Ellie Kemper.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to talk about the big releases in theatres, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” with Zac Efron, Adam DeVine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza and the animated kid’s flick “The Secret Life of Pets,” starring the voices of Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Steve Coogan and Ellie Kemper.
If you believe a new animated movie from Minions main man Chris Renaud (with co-director Yarrow Cheney), drinking from the toilet, chewing up furniture and napping are not the only things pets do when their owners are gone.
Max (voice of Louis C.K.), a brown-and-white Jack Russell Terrier has a great life with his human Katie (Ellie Kemper). They live together in a nice New York apartment and pass the time taking walks and playing. At first there’s only one problem, “Pretty much every day she leaves.”
While Katie is at work Max misses her but fills the endless hours hanging out with the other pets in his complex. There’s Buddy the dachshund (Hannibal Buress) who uses a Mixmaster as a back scratch, an obese tabby named Chloe (Lake Bell) who regularly empties the fridge and a poodle who rocks out to death metal when her opera-loving roommate is out of the house.
When Katie brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a big slobbering beast of a dog and “brother” for Max, the Jack Russell’s life, errr, ahhh, goes to the dogs. The ensuing battle for alpha dog supremacy brings on canine confusion as it spills out of the apartment and onto the street. Max and Duke must now contend with dogcatchers and the human-hating Flushed Pets gang—Liberation Forever! Domestication Never!—while Gidget (Jenny Slate), a white Pomeranian with the hots for Max, launches a rescue mission.
Animal slapstick has done well this year. First “Zootopia” gave us a menagerie of messages and laughs and now “The Secret Life of Pets” strolls along. Funny and charming, it isn’t as rich in subtext as “Zootopia,” but what it lacks in meaningful moralizing it makes up for in silly fun. It’s as deep as a dog’s dish, but it is, one might say, doggone funny.
Renaud brings the kind of bizarro humour that made the Minions a hit—the facial expressions of the pets are often as funny as their dialogue and there is a surreal musical number with edible singing sausages—to “Secret Life.” That, with a healthy mix of slapstick keeps the pace up for the younger kids. Older folks should get a kick out of the stereotypes, how the movie plays into them—“I’m your friend,” purrs Chloe, “and as your friend I don’t care about you or your problems.”—and against them—ie Kevin Hart as Snowball, the adorable but vicious bunny.
To bulk up “The Secret Life of Pets” short running time a new short, “Mower Minions,” is tacked on the front. As the strange yellow jellybeans try and make money to buy a new blender the age-old question, Do minions have tiny tattooed bums?, is finally answered probably to the delight of the kids everywhere.