The only thing selfishly contemptible about ”Despicable Me 2”, Uni’s latest Quidditch match with Pixar, is that it’s totally lacking in the frames department. Do you get what I’m saying? If bladders could handle it, I’d suspect there’d be no complaints about watching a Terrence Malick-sized version of the film – particularly if those butter-coloured jibberish-speaking ‘minions’ are hogging the reels (though I do remember saying the exact same thing about the contestants on the first series of Big Brother, so don’t bold those letters on me please). So, yes, director’s cut come Blu-ray please!
These ‘sidekick’ characters, first introduced in the original 2010 film, are such a hoot it’ll evoke plush sell-outs at Toys R Us, repeat viewings of the film (just to see the pineapple-tainted bugs bounce about, and torture each other – in a “Three Stooges” sense – again), and turbulent excitement for the in-development spin-off flick.
The ‘Puss in Boots’ of the ”Despicable Me” franchise – well, considering the loot this latest one’s projected to make, coupled with the pleasing returns on the original, it’s safe to say we’ve a continuous series on our ends – steal the show from the flick’s central character, a reformed thief. Yep, talk about robbing the robber!
But “Despicable Me 2” isn’t all fairy floss – there’s actually a pretty solid stick of ingenious under that tasty [yellow] coasting.
Loudly tearing a page out of the Pixar manual, Illumination Entertainment’s latest works because of its professed determination to please both big and little kids alike. While everyone’s bound to get a kick out of the abovesaid pint-sized sidekick characters (all 200 hundred or so of them), writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio have also injected into their template some nice over-the-head gags for the teenagers and adults – considering tykes usually need a guardian to accompany them to cinema, we do appreciate the sentiment and chic biggie’s gags- coupled with an intriguing, fun storyline that’s as full of adventure as it is laughs (and spoiler alert! romance).
You don’t get that often. While a lot of these co-called family flicks start and end with the well-drawn animation and poster-ready characters (speaking of, I promised “Epic” a shout-out!), totally neglecting a decent plot or the pull to garner expansive addressees, “Despicable Me 2” seems intent on giving everyone pictured in that family barbecue Polaroid a little something-something.
Ok, so it doesn’t quite get the laughs and sentimentality ratio as correct as Pixar’s “Toy Story 3” did – it now widely regarded as one of the best animated films of our time – but compared to whatever talking-animal movie is currently out there at present (surely there’s a talking-something playing, right!?), “Despicable Me 2” has it going on. Yes, it’s like a sketch of Diane Lane – beautiful, brainy, and surrounded by minions.
‘This thing have a plot Clint or you just going to compare the damn cartoon to someone you’d like to meet behind the back stairs of a jazz club?’ I hear you ask.
Yes pal, it does (And yes pal, I do). I’m getting to that.
Reformed ‘bad guy’, Gru (Steve Carell) gets to try out his newly-discovered ‘good side’ – as fans of the first film will recall, his cold-heart was warmed up by three young girls cum adopted daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), who all return – when a mysterious organization called the Anti Villain league comes calling, asking him to get involved in some hero duty.
It’s secret agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) who manages to twist Gru’s arm – even though he’s somewhat irked by her at the beginning – and the duo are teamed to pose as cake shop owners in a shopping mall where the good guys think a stolen secret serum, that can cause monstrous mutations, may be located.
In between snooping out shop owners, Gru and Lucy find the opportunity to get to know each other better, resulting in a blossoming love affair (and a prospective new mother for Gru’s adopted daughters) and some lovely animated mush.
Oh, and while Gru’s house is unattended, the former villain’s minions are snatched by the film’s rogue, who plans on using his mutinous serum on them. And does. But don’t worry. Don’t cry, please. It’s OK. It’s funny. Really. Please don’t cry. You’ll see.
Apatow alums Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig lend their unmistakably loopy lungs to the film’s main characters, Gru and Lucy, and they’re a banana-split sized delight together, but it’s “Catwoman” victim Benjamin Bratt who proves the biggest surprise, voicing the film’s chunky salsa-serving villain. Bratt, whose career seems to have hit the skids in recent years, was called in to replace last-minute deportee Al Pacino – who was originally set to voice the character, but left over some sort of creative decision (likely found out his character wouldn’t be on the poster? or perhaps he had a clash with a Coffee ad he was supposed to do?). Whatever Pacino’s reason for exiting, you’d not know Julia Roberts’ one-time doona sharer was a rushed, 11th hour replacement, he gives this thing his all with a welcomingly over-the-top, toon appropriate performance that’s clearly had some thought and effort put into it . But, of course, it’s those toy store-ready ‘minions’ who steal the show, offering up a pleasing warm-up act to their own movie.