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Despicable Me 2
Dir: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, and Russell Brand
Despicable Me 2 entertains both young and old
MONTE YAZZIE ~ THE FOOTHILLS FOCUS~ 7/17/2013
The onetime villain of all villains Gru (Steve Carell) and his league of comical minions are up to good, instead of no good, in Despicable Me 2. In a film sequel steeped with familiarity it’s difficult to add something new and innovative to a formula that was so successful the first time around. Despicable Me 2 doesn’t change more than the position of sides for lead character Gru, yet it still manages to remain entertaining and amusing.
Gru is a family man now, stepping away from his role as a master villain to raise his three adopted daughters. Instead of planning the next big world altering heist, Gru has transitioned into the jelly business…yes the fruit kind. With Gru’s exit from the bad guy game, the position is up for grabs. This inspires action from the Anti-Villain League (AVL) who acquires Gru and his expertise. He is partnered up with a spry agent named Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) and the two begin an investigation of suspects, all working in a mall, one of which has stolen a secret transforming formula.
There are some interesting elements woven into the narrative intention, a love interest for Gru, dating for Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), and family longing for the adorable Agnes. With so many subplots it’s difficult for the film to keep up with them all, though these narrative pieces do well enough at adding some clever setups to the otherwise conventional formula. The ultimate success for this film lies in the utilization of the Minions and the family element established early. The growing dynamic of Gru’s relationship with his girls and the transfer to his caring sensibilities for his Minions allows the film to create a bond between the characters, an element missing in some recent animated features. Though the film is not without its faults, most of them sit on a narrative that is slightly convoluted. The introduction of new characters in quick fashion never truly establishes a connection with them in the story. Though the focus revolves around Gru and his family, this aspect is noticeable when Gru’s new nemesis is introduced and then overlooked. Allowing the Minions more screen time and a stronger basis in the storyline keeps the film paced with consistent funny visual setups, as the Minions find mischief in nearly every situation.
The voice cast is good, Steve Carell especially, who continues with the new charming characteristics established in the finale of the first Despicable Me film. The addition of Kristen Wiig is a good choice for a counter balance to Gru’s character. Wiig’s comedic subtleties accommodate the more serious demeanor embodied by Carell’s character. It’s also surprising to see the recognizable names associated with the characters voiced in this film, as most animated films don’t require a voice change for the actor.
Despicable Me 2 is a great family film that presents a humorous experience for both children and parents, a quality that is hard to execute yet this film finds an even balance. While the film feels slightly over stuffed with ideas and characters at moments, it still recreates the satisfying charm introduced in the original.
4.00 out of 5.00