“Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” needs to have its carrot and eat it, too. For anybody who complained that the 2018 dwell action-animation hybrid “Peter Rabbit” betrayed Beatrix Potter’s whimsical imaginative and prescient, and appeared much less involved with the plunder of Mr. McGregor’s greens than with its personal raid of company music catalogs, the sequel, as soon as once more directed by Will Gluck, pre-empts such objections.
Bea (Rose Byrne), the rabbits’ surrogate mom, has turned their adventures right into a ebook. Its success attracts the eye of a writer (David Oyelowo), who woos Bea with fancy vehicles and the rabbits with glowing water and crudités. He envisions a 23-book sequence that includes 109 characters. Bea fears her work is likely to be tailored into one thing sassy and hip — in different phrases, right into a film like “Peter Rabbit 2.” And if it’s annoying to look at a follow-up snark at itself whereas implicitly snarking at viewers for getting tickets to a crass-ified Peter Rabbit, the vanity provides proof that issues may need been worse. At least Gluck doesn’t ship Peter into house.
Also annoying is that the industrial calculations are nonetheless livelier than the healthful dialogue between Peter (James Corden provides his voice) and Bea’s new husband, Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson, miscast each as a romantic lead and the Mr. Wilson to Peter’s Dennis the Menace). It is extra enjoyable when Peter, having sulk-walked to Green Day, encounters Barnabas (Lennie James), a thief rabbit who enlists him for a heist at a farmers’ market. Note to bunny felony masterminds: The prize rating is the dried fruit.
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes. In theaters.