Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Starring: Steve Carell
Studio: Illumination Entertainment
Rated: PG (For rude humor and mild action)
When “Despicable Me” became a surprise hit a few years ago I was of the opinion that the movie had better characters than it did a solid script, but that those characters carried the movie to satisfying results. With “Despicable Me 2” I feel largely the same way as I did the first one. This is a movie where good characters get themselves into situations that should be cleverer than they really are. The things that worked the first time around works better this time around. Though I don't think I would have called Gru (Steve Carell) much of an evil genius in the last film he did make for a surprisingly good father to the three girls he adopted to help him out with his evil plan
Now that he is out of the villain business for good we find Gru is fully housetrained and giving his daughters a birthday party, kissing them tonight, and forbidding the oldest one to see boys. Because of his new role of being a father (and running a jelly and jam business) Gru is actually more likable this time around then he was in the first movie. You'd think three girls would have taken their toll on him, but thankfully the Minions keep the house working like a well-oiled machine. I enjoyed this aspect of the film so well that I was disappointed that the directors felt they needed to bring him back into the game at all. No, he doesn't go back to his evil ways, but he is asked to help find criminals.
The lady that recruits him is Lucy (Kristen Wiig), a member of AVL (Anti-Villain League). This is an organization that specializes in capturing major criminals (they don't bother with robberies or murders, as those are seen as insignificant) and they want Gru to discover what major villain has stolen a some sort of potion that turns anyone who drinks it into a big purple monster. Lucy is assigned to be Gru's assistant and early on it's clear the two are polar opposites in their personalities. What's also obvious is that the two have instant chemistry that makes the audience want to root for them to get together for the entire movie.
The movie provides lots of action sequences, rapid jokes, and more minions then you could ever hope for. Like the last film I found the villain stuff to be a little uninspired here. The real heart of the movie is the characters and their relationships, and those are still pulled off well here. Though I suspect only adults will be wishing for less comedic action. The kids will be too busy laughing at the sight gags and colorful images. “Despicable Me 2” doesn't have the punch that “Shrek” had nor the emotional depth of “Toy Story,” but Gru is a really unique character, he's likable, and I believe he's going to be around for a long time.
Parents, despite the PG-rating there is nothing offensive in this film. Recommended for all ages.