Should children see The Secret Life of Pets 2 Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, an honest parents guide and mom review to Illumination’s newest animated film sequel. No spoilers! #TheSecretLifeofPets2 May contain commissioned links.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 Movie Review | Safe for Kids?
A dog in a cone of shame? A bunny in a super hero costume? Have the pets gone off the deep end? Nope, it’s The Secret Life of Pets 2.
I was highly skeptical when Illumination announced a sequel because spoiler…I wasn’t a fan of the original. With the best one liners and plot points given out in the trailers, there wasn’t much left for me as a parent to enjoy.
So is this sequel going to the dogs? In this The Secret Life of Pets 2 Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, I’m talking visuals, the story, a full PG rating breakdown, and sharing whether kids should see this film. A no spoiler parent review – this is the post you want to read before hopping into another random sausage factory song sequence.
From the details on Max’s nose to the colorful scene of New York City, Illumination has really outdone themselves again in the cartoon visuals department. Truly inspiring from just the film tech side, I really enjoyed how much attention went into the little things. That being said, I wouldn’t jump to see this one in 3D (unless you truly love love visual arts and computer animation). But the graphics, well done.
The problem with the original film was that all of the best plot points were given away in the trailers. By the time that I actually got to sit down and enjoy the film, there wasn’t a lot of highlights left to savor. What starts as a fun “secret life look” at pets living in New York City, the story instantly plummets soon after into a world full of questions marks with a big tangent into a sausage factory and the climax of fighting sewer animals in an underground gang (to be honest, not sure which one was more disturbing). I left the first film thoroughly confused and underwhelmed.
Thankfully, Illumination really wised up to the importance of a good story to a movie, and not just a bunch of pet clichés and jokes thrown together. Instead of a bunch of tangents, the story really wove together much better, and this time there were plot points left to enjoy. I wasn’t overly sold on the new characters. Though Harrison Ford as a dog? Hilarious. As a parent of small kids who has to also sit in the theater with them, it was nice to actually leave feeling like I saw a film and not a replay of the trailers.
That PG Rating
Is The Secret Life of Pets 2 safe for kids? After the original film and that ode to sausage scene – I would only expect some more crude humor to be intertwined. But does Illumination take it a little too far for young audiences?
Why is The Secret Life of Pets rated PG? With The Secret Life of Pets 2 PG rating for “action and rude humor,” you know that these ratings have a huge gray area when it comes to kids (Christopher Robin PG or Incredibles 2 PG?). And after a roller coaster of emotions during the first movie, I was having some doubts as to where the script could go. But parents, here’s the full breakdown on whether this movie is safe for kids. And no, this one is NOT for all children.
Violence. Well, it’s no fight scene with a bunch of underground angry animals, but it’s about the same level. The Secret Life of Pets 2 is about even with the original as far as cartoon violence goes. There are a few suspenseful sequences for younger audiences (my 6-year old was jumping into my lap for one) as the action includes a few scary chase scenes, animals with creepy eyes, animal abuse, animals fighting animals (in WWE style), weapons, and some “unsafe” driving involving humans (which may need some explanation to kids as well). I would compare the cartoon violence to be about the same as that with the Despicable Me series.
Adult Themes. Crude humor category – insert here. As expected, a lot of pet humor was used in this film and quite frankly a lot of pet potty humor. So imagine just about every combo of pee and poop without using language – it’s all here. And when you have a 10-year old boy, basically every joke is hilarious. So if you’re not big on potty humor, this isn’t the movie for your kids.
There also seems to be writers who are anti-cats. A particular cat nip scene made me uncomfortable, not just for cat lovers but also for the depiction of “drug induced” stereotyping.
Language. Thankfully, no swear words are used in this film. I highly appreciate that. Though I will say that I was a little perturbed on the use of the word “idiot” in the film in a derogatory manner. It really didn’t even need to be in the film. And again, lots of pee and poop jokes. ***Updated: With many folks worried about the word “pissed” in movie, I’m also adding this in (though according to the MPAA, this word is NOT considered a swear word).
What The Secret Life of Pets 2 Age Rating is Recommended for Kids?
Is The Secret Life of Pets 2 kid friendly? With a runtime of 1 hour 26 minutes, this Illumination animated film has young children written all over it. That being said, the balance of potty humor and a few scary sequences make me hesitant to say ALL kids could watch this PG rated film.
What age is recommended to watch The Secret Life of Pets 2? I highly recommend that kids under the age of 7-years old should really have this movie pre-screened by adults first.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 > The Secret Life of Pets. Shockingly, it is possible for an animated sequel to be better than the original. At only 86 minutes, I really appreciated Illumination not dragging out this movie because it was a sequel. They really could have gone on and on with the story tangents and pet humor. We actually left all surprised at how much was compacted into the film without a million bathroom breaks, a good option for wiggly worm kids.
Deeper than just potty humor and pets talking like humans while acting like pets, this movie is about the loyalty of pets to humans and how important they are to our generation. But just like people, these pets are overcoming fears, insecurities, mental health issues, diversity, acceptance, and a quest to find love and happiness. Definitely all issues that I want my kids to see, and appreciate.
Overall, don’t confuse my “hey there’s an actual story line” with “award winning script writing.” There’s no awards going to The Secret Life of Pets 2. But as a parent trying to entertain 2 kids throughout the summer, I appreciate a summer film that the whole family can truly enjoy together with characters they already know and love. Taking both my 6-year old and 10-year old to The Secret Life of Pets and now The Secret Life of Pets 2, it was a fun feel-good summer sequel.
Grab The Secret Life of Pets Puppy Chow recipe.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 – In Theaters June 7
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Are you taking your kids to see The Secret Life of Pets 2? Do you think this new Illumination film is safe for kids?
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All photos courtesy of Illumination Entertainment. I was invited to attend a press screening in exchange for this The Secret Life of Pets 2 Movie Review | Safe for Kids? post. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!
There is a swear word in Secret Life of Pets 2. Don’t piss Pickles off!
I agree that this word would be considered offensive to some, though technically not considered a swear word. Thanks for chiming in.
Actually in this case it was used as a swear word (definition: an offensive word, used especially as an expression of anger.) Pissed ( “pissed” is a vulgar term denoting anger and frustration)
I understand your feelings regarding to “pissed” as a swear word and I can certainly include this word in future movie reviews for parents. I meant in the case of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) rating, the board did not consider this word to be labeled as a swear word.
Bridget Ann Kieschnick says
Still not a word you want to hear your children/grandchildren say. Why not just express how you feel…’I’m mad’ ‘i’m angry’. In my world, that word is not an appropriate word to use.
I agree the use of the word is poor choice in general. I will definitely keep in mind for future and will note any use in my reviews.
Jennifer Mercurio says
We just watched this and I was shocked to hear “…now Pickles is pissed!” And I 100% consider that a swear word. I couldn’t believe they said it and my 14yo even made a comment after the movie. “Did you hear they said a swear word, mom? Why did they use that word?” 🤷🏼♀️
As stated above, I appreciate your concern and definitely will note for future reviews. But per MPAA standards for movie ratings, the association does not consider pissed as a swear word. This is certainly a word that our family considers offensive, but I was keeping in mind for the MPAA rating. Noted going forward, I will include any and all references to the word “pissed” for concerned parents.
You must have missed the “Pickles is PISSED” sentence since you said no swear words were used.
Hi Brandy, thanks for your comment. Please see comments above yours for clarification.
I definitely feel that the word discussed above would be considered vulgarity or cursing in the context it was used within the film. I personally teach my 4 year old about the differences between “big person” and “kid sized” words. I allowed him to see this film. I hadn’t read the reviews from parents until after seeing it, and personally, while I understand the classification rules for these ratings, felt surprised to hear it in a children’s movie. After the stink many parents stir up about the scene in the Harry Potter series, I would expect the terminology rules and vulgar language rules to be at least qualifying this as PG13. While I was surprised, I have to admit I was not wildly offended by any means. After all, PG stands for Parental Guidance, which in my mind means that parents should be aware that it isn’t exactly a G rated movie. I can also understand how one of the lesser curses isn’t turning it into PG13, and parents are sufficiently warned with the Parental Guidance rating. I personally felt your review was extremely accurate and helpful! I never really read reviews, so as not to spoil the film. I will definitely be relying on your reviews in the future!