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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
Movie review: 'Despicable Me 2'
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Despicable Me 2
Gru (voice of Steve Carell) ponders how to save the world, while a couple of his Minions plan some mischief.
July 3, 2013 5:16 a.m.

Despicable Me 2

Because the first one took in more than half a billion dollars.

Any other questions as to why there’s a sequel to 2010’s “Despicable Me”?

Things have calmed down into a nice routine for former villain Gru (Steve Carell). He’s a loving, caring dad for his three adopted daughters, and he’s become a respectable businessman, watching over the jam and jelly business that he’s entrusted to his former henchman Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand). But there are two problems: The jams and jellies are awful, and Dr. Nefario misses being evil, so he takes another job.

Then there are the bigger problems. Like that secret lab in the Arctic that has mysteriously vanished. You know, the lab that was manufacturing PX-41, the “transmutation serum” that can turn cute bunnies into “indestructible mindless killing machines.”

So it’s decision time. Does Gru go the treacly route, staying at home with his cute girls, or does he, after being kidnapped and brought to Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan), the director of the Anti-Villain League, agree to search for the serum and help save the world?

Well, it’s not that easy. He sure doesn’t know what to make of Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), the excitable agent who, armed with her lipstick taser, nabs him in Bond-like style under orders of Silas. And he is, coincidentally, in the midst of fending off his kids’ questions about why he isn’t dating. And he, in his old softy ways, kind of misses Dr. Nefario.

But it should be no surprise that he takes the gig, nor should it catch anyone off-guard that he and Lucy end up being partners on the case, attempting to track down traces of PX-41 at a nearby mall.

Simple, right? Not really. Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt), who runs the little Italian restaurant at the mall, looks suspiciously like former villain El Macho. Gru’s eldest daughter Margo takes a shine to Eduardo’s slick son Antonio. Remember Gru’s babbling little yellow helpers known as Minions from the first film? They may have been slightly out of control then, but now it’s a case of Minion madness, as wherever they appear, much more chaos ensues.

Actually, it’s a rare moment when the film isn’t filled with chaos. Lucy is always in comically alert spy mode. Steve Carell overdoes every aspect of playing the role of Gru, The animators have given him an over-the-top physical look, combining a huge body with spindly legs, and Carell and the directors have worked out a method of having him yell practically all of his dialogue. This all works well.

The youngest of viewers will love the slapstick shenanigans and the bright color palette, and some adults will giggle at references only they will get, such as when the Mungo Jerry song “In the Summertime” pops up on the soundtrack, and suddenly one of Minions is sporting a wooly wig that makes him look just like the band’s lead singer Ray Dorset. The sight gags are seemingly endless, and take place all over the screen. The only way to catch most of them is to look around and stop paying attention to the story.

But how could anyone do that when it’s hinted that Lucy might have a thing for Gru, and vice versa? Or when all those Minions are subjected to the serum and become “indestructible mindless killing machines.” Or when, during the end credits, the film’s 3-D gets so pumped up that the Minions manage to fill the theater with the bubbles they’re blowing.

Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.

DESPICABLE ME 2

Written by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul; directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud

With voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Steve Coogan, Russell Brand

Rated PG

 

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