Despicable Me 2 is kid- friendly to a fault - an unnecessary continuation of the 2010 animated hit showcasing a second-rate villain named Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) who finds meaning when he becomes a surrogate father. The updated version is equally affable, although it doesn't waste much time on morality.
Despicable Me 2 is kid- friendly to a fault — an unnecessary continuation of the 2010 animated hit showcasing a second-rate villain named Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) who finds meaning when he becomes a surrogate father.
The updated version is equally affable, although it doesn’t waste much time on morality. Surrounded by three orphaned girls and his scene-stealing minions, Gru is awash in contentment. Thus, the movie must devise a plot device outside the realm of the original: Gru is recruited to fight a new villain by a spunky female agent named Lucy (Kristen Wiig).
The main plot takes a back seat while Gru’s adorable girls foster the potential romance between Gru and Lucy.
Another sitcom situation pops up when the oldest daughter develops her first crush, leading to a first date and to the predictably overprotective father taking action.
As in the first film, the villain is more bumbling than scary. He is the chubby, gregarious owner of a Mexican restaurant. When he dons a mask, he becomes a cartoonish Mexican wrestler with an outsize personality and an equally outlandish plan to take over the world.
One can wish for a villain who doesn’t fall so easily into a sour Latino stereotype or for a script that could resist cheap humor such as a “fart gun.”
Carell clearly has a blast voicing the “follicle-challenged” Gru, with pointy extremities and a doughy body that refuses to be tamed by his all-black ensembles. Gru’s adoration of his adopted kids is genuine, and his distaste for the ordinary makes him a leading character who hasn’t grown stale. Wiig’s gift for physical comedy is reflected nicely in her character, whose rapid delivery is full of starts and stops.
The minions also get their share of screen time. Still sporting overalls and metal goggles, the yellow blobs with childish sensibilities giggle at a character with the last name Ramsbottom and exhibit remarkable elasticity when physical comedy is required. When the minions’ bickering gets old, the directors smartly have them cover All-4-One and the Village People. Both bits receive the best and most-earned laughter.
And, if you haven’t had your fill of the minions, stick around through the end credits to see them “auditioning” for their next film, which is due in the winter.
Co-directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud have no grand ambitions for their characters except to keep the comic possibilities fertile and light.
Parents can find better children’s films, and paying extra for the 3-D version of this one is unnecessary. Fans of the first effort might miss the dastardly Gru, who was played for comic effect, and regret his transformation into someone decidedly not despicable.