Directors: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Benjamin Bratt, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong
Written by: Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul
Running Time: 98 mins
Release date: 28th June 2013
Back in 2010, my friends in America took me to see Despicable Me. I had no idea what this film was about, it was coming to the end of its run in the States and hadn’t hit the shores of the UK. I entered with no expectations at all and came out shouting about how brilliant it was. A hit in the truest sense of the word. Not only that, but the first film in which the 3D actually worked. So entering Despicable Me 2 was like going into a date. Nervous but hoping for good things. I needn’t have been nervous because Despicable Me manages to do what other animated sequels have failed in the past. It delivers.
Gru, the evil genius, has given up all things bad and has become a true father to the three girls he has adopted. Starting his own jelly business, he doesn’t miss the evil world at all. However, someone else has taken his mantle, and he is asked to join the Anti-Villain League, in order to help track down and stop this new villain, who has stolen a formula that turns the sweetest things into vicious, purple monsters. Working with agent Lucy Wilde, the pair have to find the perpetrator before his evil plan can be put into action, while at the same time, Gru has to deal with something more dangerous…an emotion called love.
First thing to say about Despicable Me 2 is that it is funny. I mean, very funny, in a incredibly stupid and sometimes immature way. It has fart jokes, jokes about cross-dressing, jokes about bottoms and yet it is done with such innocence that you can’t help but warm to them. Unlike the crude nature of say, A Haunted House, these are child-like and you get flashes of what it was like to be a child and laughing like a loon at the word “bottom”.
It also manages to do something that most animations forget: it has a heart. The story isn’t just about a former villain out to stop another villain. It’s the story of a family, a cute, loving family with a dysfunctional father who loves his children. It’s about a motherless family wanting that gap to be filled. It’s about teenage girls finding the existence of boys. It’s about everyday things all mixed into a movie with thousands of comical minions, silly gadgets and impossibly ridiculous situations.
Having said that, it’s a film that the whole family can share because while there’s plenty of slapstick, childish humour for the kids to enjoy, the adults aren’t forgotten and you find yourself laughing at the antics of the minions along with the little ones. It is a film for everyone.
The voice talents are spot -on once again. Steve Carell has made Gru a loveable rogue with his strange European accent that he is hard to resist as a leading man. Adding to the fun is Kristen Wiig, who makes for a delightful stooge as Lucy. The kids are still adorable, especially unicorn-loving Agnes (who proved the biggest laugh in the first film…IT’S SO FLUFFY!) and the minions positively steal the show with their crazy antics. It was advertised with one of the voices being provided by Al Pacino but due to “creative differences”, he was replaced by Benjamin Bratt.
If I was being picky, it isn’t as funny as the original and it did miss a Fluffy moment (I was laughing 5 minutes after that in the first film) but to be honest, it really doesn’t matter. It is very rare that a cartoon with this much invention and this much fun comes along and after the somewhat preachy Epic and the lacklustre The Croods, it’s about time we had an animation film outside Pixar and Disney that is just a sweet-natured bundle of joy. Despicable Me 2 is that bundle and I advise you to bundle yourself to the cinema and see it. Oh and see it in 3D (there’s something I’d never say normally) because this is what 3D was made for.