While Despicable Me 2 may not contain as much charm or innocence of the original 2010 production, “Despicable Me,” it nevertheless includes enough fun, laughs, new characters and an interesting storyline to make it a fine family film in a season where good movie fare has certainly been difficult to come by.
Again produced by Illumination Entertainment and Universal, and directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, Despicable Me 2 has Gru (voiced by Steve Carell, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone“), as the formerly evil villain who found love thanks to three orphaned girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove, TV series “iCarly“), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher, “Masha and the Bear” TV series), trying to foil a madman’s plot to conquer the world with an army of indestructible purple minions (culled from his very own tiny workers).
Teaming up with Lucy (Kristen Wiig, “Bridesmaids“), an overeager secret agent for AVL (Anti-Villain League), Gru discovers the bad guy could be one of several business owners at the local mall, including one who might just be a super villain called “El Macho” (Benjamin Bratt, “Snitch“). The two do not seem to hit it off, but the little girls are in desperate need of a mother and so the dynamic begins and the two might just be an item before the end of the picture.
Tempted to go over to the dark side with an avid fan of his previous work (“You stole the MOON!” intones a fawning character), Gru has to make decisions not only about his true self, but about caring for his new family and his love-life, too (an awkward date scene is a joy to watch). These complications may not make much sense to the younger set, but the vibrant colors of the animation, the various and sundry non-human characters (a vengeful chicken is especially hilarious) and the overall wackiness of Despicable Me 2 will bring them around eventually.
In addition, decent support is added by Russell Brand (“Rock Of Ages“) as the feeble Dr. Nefario, Ken Jeong (in everything nowadays, but most notably “The Hangover Part 3“) as Floyd the wigmaker, and Steve Coogan, (“Ruby Sparks“) as AVL leader Silas Ramsbottom, while the directors themselves handle the vocals of most of the minions.
In fact, there seems to be many more of these lovable yellow Vienna sausage-shaped creatures than in the first film (does focus research mean anything or not?). That these creations proliferate Despicable Me 2 and push auto insurance, among other things, is not such a bad thing, considering that most of their antics were appreciated by the tots at my screening as well as tolerated by most of their parents.
Still, during some of the sequences, my mind did drift occasionally and wondered why the sequel was made in the first place. Not enough, however, to negate the effort or give any totally negative reviews, especially since those slow moments are invariably followed up with a fun sequence which makes the effort of watching Despicable Me 2 worthwhile again.