Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Despicable Me 2 (Movie Review)

The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about "Despicable Me 2" in about the time it takes to watch the trailer.



 It’s been 3 years since Universal surprised me with the fun and poignant Despicable Me, can they do it again?
Despicable Me 2 is the sequel to the 2010 animated film starring Steve Carell as Gru, a villain who suddenly has to play father and how that changes him. In this follow up, we now see Gru as settling into his life as a parent and what happens when he’s called in to catch a villain instead of be one. Carell reprises his role as Gru and is joined by Kristen Wiig, who voices the agent he is partnered with, to solve the case. It’s pretty obvious right from the start that the team behind this (the same team who wrote and directed the first, by the way) took a look at the things people loved about the first one and piled them on higher and deeper. Specifically, of course, I’m talking about everyone’s favorite little yellow pill shaped helpers, the minions.
And you know what? It works. In fact, I’d say it’s my best thing. I mean, if you loved the minions in the first movie, get ready, because not only are there more of them this time, but they are an integral part of the plot in a way that gives them even more opportunity to unleash their brand of insanity on the world around them. Now sometimes, this type of piling on the good stuff can go too far, feeling a bit like the kid at the ice cream bar who ends up with more sprinkles in his bowl than ice cream. But I’m happy to report, that at least for me, it never felt forced or unnatural. I’m also happy to say that Kristen Wiig is used very well in this with her character being another highlight in both humor and story. She is also given the task of bringing some of the heart to this one, a task that she pulls off decently, even if it feels a bit forced at times. Her role gives the movie enough heart to bring a little warmth, but overall it falls far short of the original in that regard.
And that’s really disappointing. The heart that was so present in the first one just feels a bit shoe horned in. In fact... and it really hurts me to say this... the worst thing about Despicable Me 2? It’s the daughters. Ugh, this hurts. I loved them so much in the original, and the way they changed Gru, cindy lou who style, was so beautiful. But here, they are just window dressing. It’s like the writers know they need to use them more so they try to create tie ins to the story, but unfortunately it just feels forced.
Don’t get me wrong, overall Despicable me 2 is a funny, beautifully animated, film with an engaging enough story and a fun new character voiced by Kristin Wiig. The creators found a wonderful way to give us more of the minions without it feeling contrived, but couldn’t pull off the same thing with Gru’s girls. Even with the heart shrunk down a few sizes in this one it’s still a blast and worth checking out. I think it’s perfectly rated at a B.
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