20) Despicable Me 2 [7.5]

While Gru, the ex-supervillain is adjusting to family life and an attempted honest living in the jam business, a secret Arctic laboratory is stolen. The Anti-Villain League decides it needs an insider’s help and recruits Gru in the investigation. Together with the eccentric AVL agent, Lucy Wilde, Gru concludes that his prime suspect is the presumed dead supervillain, El Macho, whose his teenage son is also making the moves on his eldest daughter, Margo. Seemingly blinded by his overprotectiveness of his children and his growing mutual attraction to Lucy, Gru seems on the wrong track even as his minions are being quietly kidnapped en masse for some malevolent purpose. (2013)

Despicable Me had a very solid mix of comedy and sweetness. The sequel also contains these elements with much success, but something is missing this time around. The nice side of Gru and the love he has for his adopted daughters is part of what makes the franchise as good as it is, but I wish he had more of an arc than just falling in love in Despicable Me 2. That being said, I was laughing the vast majority of the movie and that’s largely due to the slapstick comedy of the Chaplin-esque Minions.

The Minions are both adorable and wonderfully animated. One can get the gist of what they are saying (even though it’s not English), especially with their body language. Despicable Me did a good job of balancing their screen-time with the rest of the cast. If you have them appear too often, they lose their appeal. Though I wondered in the first act if they were going to be overexposed this time around, the Minions were used more sparingly in the rest of the movie. I’m curious to see how they’ll fair in their upcoming spinoff film.

Russell Brand, Benjamin Bratt, and Steve Carrell all do a commendable job of slipping into their respective accents and doing voice-work that doesn’t sound like their usual routine, inflections and characteristics. Unfortunately, Kristen Wiig is doing a less crazed version of the shtick she uses in everything she appears in. I had been a big fan of hers during her early years on SNL, but much like Will Ferrell, she’s never been able to disappear into a role (even if it’s just doing voice work). Regardless, Despicable Me 2 is a highly enjoyable entry in to the series, and makes for a good viewing for both children and adults alike.

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