Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Movie Review - Despicable Me 2

When it came out in 2010, Despicable Me was a favorite with my kids and I had a lot of fun with it as well. So when the previews for a sequel started popping up, the kids were super excited. So much so that when they received movie gift cards as Christmas presents last winter, they explicitly set them aside so they could see Despicable Me 2 quickly after release.

The first film was filled with ridiculous Looney Toons style hilarity and madcap slapstick hijinks. Over the course of the movie, Gru has to come to terms with being the best world famous villain or loving the three adopted girls in his life. 

The second film starts by showing us that Gru has turned over a new leaf and given up his life of villainy. He's still the quirky anti-social weirdo that he was before, but he has "turned legit" and is working on becoming a good guy. He's fully entrenched in being the good dad to his girls and doing all he can to make their lives happy. We also see a push early on to bring a lady into his life…initially with neighbors trying to set him up on dates as well as his youngest daughter, Agnes, hinting at the lack of a mother as she prepares for her part in the Mother's Day pageant at school.

In spite of the semi-mundane family life, things quickly take a turn for the zanily adventurous when Gru is kidnapped/recruited to be part of the "Anti Villain League" in order to hunt down an unknown villain with a powerful new serum. Gru is reluctant but eventually accepts, presumably to try and get some excitement and adventure back into his life. He is paired up with another agent, Lucy, who is overly enthusiastic about the mission and also quite enamored by Gru. It doesn't take long to realize she's going to become the lady in his life. The two take up a position running a store in a local mall to try and scope out the potential villain. There are a bunch of over-the-top characters in the mall.

Throughout the investigation and subsequent adventures, there is a lot of crazy slapstick comedy mixed with Gru's humor laced with his indistinct Eastern European accent. Gru's minions play an even bigger part in this film than they did in the first. We see them working to care for the girls as well as taking care of details around the house. Where they really become part of the plot though is when they start getting kidnapped by some mysterious force thus making it evident that the unknown villain is definitely very much aware of Gru and his schemes.

The plot and story arc is more over the top cheesy than the first movie at least in terms of trying to be saccharine filled sweetness. We have similar cutesy excitement from the girls, particularly young Agnes. We get to see the softer, loving, caring side of Gru in all its ridiculous beauty. And we get hit over the head with the message of the importance of love and family. It's all cute and nice, but felt a little heavy handed at times.

The jokes and physical gags were overused and very reminiscent of the humor of the first film writ large. The minions are taken up a few notches in terms of their annoyingly crazy silliness. I didn't feel like this movie had as many memorable gags or one liners as the first one ("knocked over", "it's SOO FLUFFY I COULD DIE", etc) but it still kept the humor up and made for a lot of great laughs. The kids loved it and I had a lot of fun and plenty of giggles as well. On the whole, I probably enjoyed this one a little less than the first film but still had good fun with it and can say if you liked #1, you should have fun here as well.

3.5 out of 5 stars


Brian Miller said...

that is consistant with other reviews i have read...good but not as good as the first...we will still see def looks fun...

Anonymous said...

Nice review Okie. Maybe I’m just an old, cynical man that hates fun, because I did not care for this one at all.