GRU AND THE GIRLS RETURN IN DESPICABLE ME 2, AND ITS JUST AS MUCH FUN AS THE FIRST.  AND LIKE THE FIRST, THE MINIONS SERVE UP THE BIGGEST LAUGHS

My Minions - Despicable Me 2

My Minions – Despicable Me 2 (Photo credit: Jeff Pioquinto, SJ)

Director:  Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud

Starring:  Steve Carrell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan

Studio:  Universal Pictures

Length:  1 Hr 38 Min

Rated:  Family

Gru and the girls are back, along with Dr. Nefario and Gru’s legion of little yellow minions.  This time around, Gru finds himself on the side of the angels, recruited to help thwart the kind of diabolical plot he himself once unleashed upon an unsuspecting world.  Along the way he finds himself throwing birthday parties, dodging blind dates and killer sharks (again), inventing a line of original jellies and butting heads with boys for the first time.  But despite all the antics Dru finds himself getting into (and out of), the real stars of Despicable Me 2 are his minions, who see more screen time in the sequel than in the original.  And they don’t disappoint.

Settling into domestic life while raising his three adopted girls, Gru (brilliantly voiced by Steve Carrell) becomes the prototypical devoted father, even if he still has a chip the size of Mount Everest on his shoulder.  Margo is growing into a teenager, complete with all the headaches that includes (she’s just reached the age where boys become fascinating-much to Dru’s chagrin), Edith is the tomboy of the group, determined to be a ninja when she grows up and the youngest, Agnes, has added princesses to a list of obsessions that still includes unicorns.  Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) is still hanging around, now puttering away in the basement lab, helping Dru invent a whole new line of jelly products.  But Dru and the family soon find their lives disrupted when the Anti-Villain League, a law enforcement agency devoted strictly to opposing super villains, recruits Gru to help them track down and stop a mysterious new villain whose stolen a top-secret formula that can mutate the most harmless creature into a man-eating monster.  Reluctantly paired with the lethal yet spectacularly awkward agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), Dru sets out to solve this mystery and soon suspects that a villain from his past (Benjamin Bratt) may be involved.  Complicating things further, the girls decide to become matchmakers and try to get Dru married off, a job already being occupied by an annoying neighbor determined to set Dru up.  And to add one extra little thorn in his side, Margo falls head over heels for Antonio, a virtual James Dead clone who also happens to be the son of Gru’s number one suspect.  Everyone’s favorite former villain soon finds that the more he tries to keep his eldest daughter away from her newfound rebel without a cause, the deeper she falls for him.

Despicable Me 2 is a laugh riot that’s just as good as the first.  There’s still a pretty high cute factor (lead once again by Agnes) and watching Dru struggle as the father of an adolescent love struck girl as well as with everyone’s clumsy attempts to set him up gives the film plenty of fresh comedic options.  And as always, the minions are on hand to steal about a thousand scenes (hopefully the home release includes some more original mini-movies devoted just to them and there’s already a spinoff movie in the works featuring Sandra Bullock).  At the risk of playing spoiler, there’s a hilarious scene where the minions do a priceless personation of a famous boy band from the nineties performing one of their greatest hits.  The kids were laughing t the yellow guys while the adults were roaring at the impersonation of a band that just won’t die. With all due respect to films like the Croodes, Monsters University and Epic, Despicable Me 2 is the best animated film of the year so far, and it’s going to be tough for any other release to knock it out of that spot, based mostly on its wider appeal.  Because while you shouldn’t be surprised to see the kids to fall out of their seats laughing, you should expect plenty of grown ups to join them.

Shayne Kempton

DESPICABLE FUN

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