Rated: PG for rude humor and mild action. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: July 3, 2013 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
Despicable Me 2 (enjoyed to fun, playful effect in the 3D format) stars Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), among other returnees like Russell Brand, but new voices include those of Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong (The Hangover III) and Benjamin Bratt (a hulking Salsa & Salsa restaurant owner Eduardo) as heart and humor are definitely not in short supply. The latter comes in waves thanks especially to more than scene-stealing fluorescent yellow gibberish-speaking Minions.
Scribes Pierre Coffin and Cinco Paul concoct an elemental, if sensible tale of manufacturing good from an 'ex-villain' like Carell's reformed, East European-sounding Gru reigning over his quirky cute aforementioned Minions. So, misadventures with unlikely romance is part of the childlike blend pitched mainly at youngsters but often greeted as warmly by their parents and/or adult companions.
The once dastardly audacious Gru (who once stole and put back the moon after planning the heist from an underground lair) now is a more heroic protagonist after the observing of a humongous magnet taking care of a classified research facility on the Arctic Circle. Having adopted Agnes (Elsie Fisher), Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), and Edith (Dana Gaier), he's a proprietor of a jam and jelly factory.
Wiig, instead of running Home For Girls, now is Gru's stringy sidekick (in a little nod perhaps to Get Smart) in Agent Lucy Wilde in recruiting him on behalf of its boss (Coogan) for the Anti-Villain League. A powerful new serum is turning into a global threat by transforming those who receive it into sinister, purple monsters. It's up to Gru and his new lipstick taser-toting partner to find the mastermind which involves going undercover at a mall.
Even if the uniqueness of the original isn't really capitalized on by the makers, the action and ideas on display are an opportunity to present seamless, vibrant visuals in an amusing, irresistible way. Carell has that churlish, bumbling pitch-perfect quality with Gru (and the irony on what he once embraced) that again works throughout especially opposite a vivacious whirlwind Wiig. Brand and Jeong (as a suspicious mustachioed wig entrepreneur) maybe are too bland or given short shrift given their own particular comedic pedigrees to help provide more delightful inflections. The asides, numbers and chases make for an adventure carefully calibrated to its own universe.
Carell, who appeared opposite Tina Fey and Wiig in Date Night, has one memorable one from hell while donning a dark wig with ruby red pouting lips on the other very skinny end. Some may like a little of the interplay as Eduardo's son Antonio (Moises Arias) has developed a crush on Margo and other touches like the Bake My Day cake shop that Gru and Lucy handle or a zany craven of a watchdog. But, in cute misadventure that enjoys shaking up its premise to a degree, Despicable Me 2 is consistently entertaining by not overstaying its welcome; even as the mirthful, unrelenting Minions go all the way (or as far as they can) with "YMCA."
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