(Universal Pictures)
Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.
(Universal Pictures)

As was the case with its predecessor, Despicable Me 2 is quality fun for the whole family.  Delving right into the comedy and rarely letting up, the animated sequel checks in on former super villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell), now focused on his life as a single father of adopted sisters Margot (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher).  Instead of inflicting global mayhem, he, his gadget guru Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), and the leagues of comical yellow assistants known as minions have turned their focus to a line of jellies, the taste of which still needs some time in the lab.  While they’re enacting their winning combination of twisted domesticity and lovable slapstick, another bad guy lifts a top secret research station, prompting the Anti-Villain League to recruit Gru in identifying the mystery bandit.

 (Universal Pictures)
Most macho drink, ever.
(Universal Pictures)

In handling the new threat, the filmmakers make a wise decision that firmly marks the film as one zeroed in on entertainment.  Gru is convinced that rotund Mexican restauranteur Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt) is actually the long M.I.A. El Macho, and instead of cloaking the secret identity and making it one of the film’s central mysteries, Gru’s suspicions are soon confirmed, allowing new and less predictable adventures to issue forth.  Among these are numerous stupendous sight gags, namely a flashback to El Macho’s “most macho death possible,” a combination of danger upon danger that deserves to be seen instead of spoiled here.  Naturally, the minions get their due as well, and in addition to their distinct gibberish chatter and wild stunt work, they shine in a few excellent, albeit brief, song-and-dance numbers.

 (Universal Pictures)
Gru and Lucy on the trail of the Grimace Killer.
(Universal Pictures)

Walking a fine line between silly and stupid, Despicable Me 2 emerges unscathed thanks to a commitment to such hijinks and its cast’s marvelous distortion of their respective voices so that nearly every phrase comes out sounding humorous.  Fully aware of this sonic strength, the filmmakers give their stars memorable lines and wrap them in a well-conceived story in which flatulence jokes and general immaturity are central to the allure.  Though a romantic storyline feels slightly forced and ultimately simplistic, it only adds to the ironic good naturedness of an evil genius turned softie, a dichotomy from which the film harnesses its particular charms.  For its steady laughs and pure heart, the film earns its place alongside the best computer animated works and comes in a close second to Monsters University as the year’s top family film thus far.

Grade: B+

Rated PG for rude humor and mild action.

Despicable Me 2 is currently playing at the Carolina Cinemas on Hendersonville Rd.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwXbtZXjbVE]

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One Comment

  1. It’s not often that a hit animated film’s sequel surpasses the original film. Despicable Me 2 is one of those rare cases. From the moment it appears on the screen to the end of the film, Despicable Me 2 is a fast paced, fun film that never ceases to be entertaining.

    This film has you laughing quite often, contains humour that both kids and adults can appreciate, and had at least one moment that was worthy of clapping out loud to.

    The character development is to be praised, as is the warmth and soul that Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud put into this film.

    This film leaves you feeling joyful and satisfied and happy for the characters and the new direction their lives are taking.

    This film is not to be missed and I can’t recommend it enough.

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