If you remember my review of the original Despicable Me (which you can read here), I gave it a very bad 2-star rating. Despite my best efforts to shield her from it, my older daughter fell in love with it. As she watched it over time, I caught little snippets of it here and there. With each new glance, I began liking it and laughing with it more and more. Now, if I could go back and re-write my review of the original, I’d change the rating to 4 stars. I somehow missed it the first time, but there’s a great big heart at the core of Despicable Me that’s mostly due to little girl characters. Thankfully, with our central character Gru having changed his evil ways and adopting the tiny trio, they’re bringing the heart back into the sequel. While it may not feel as genuine as the first, any lacking aspect of Despicable Me 2 is made up for with huge laughs.
As the TV ads are asking, “Guess who’s back?” Not just Gru (Steve Carell) and his little ladies, but Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) and, of course, the Minions. With villainy in the rearview mirror, when Gru isn’t with his girls, he’s putting his massive high-tech lair to use by making a staple for children around the world – jelly. Dr. Nefario and the Minions (when they’re not screwing around) work restlessly to perfect their new kid-friendly industry. All is well in Gru’s suburbia – but it won’t stay that way for long.
Just minutes into the movie, we meet a new character voiced by Kristen Wiig – Lucy. She’s a bit of a villain geek – only she’s not a villain herself. Au contraire, she’s a member of an MI6-ish organization bent on bringing down the bad guys of the world. With a powerful chemical weapon having been recently stolen from a secret government installation (which is actually the opening scene of Despicable Me 2), Lucy has been sent to recruit the villain-gone-straight Gru in an attempt to locate the mastermind behind the heist. Being on the other side of justice, the girls are just fine with Gru’s return to that world, but they’re even more excited at the prospect of Gru working closely with a woman, as they’re hoping for him to find the one thing he’s missing in life – romantic love.
This plot may sound silly, but it’s within this story that countless doors are opened to the film’s humor. Without exaggerating, I can honestly say that Despicable Me 2 is the funniest kid’s movie that I’ve seen in years. From start to finish, the laughs never stop. In fact, there’s one bit at the close of the film that’s so funny that it brought tears to my eyes. As I peered around the theater, I could see many other adults wiping the tears from under their 3D glasses too – but don’t just go off my opinions and observations. Five-year-old Little Miss Hickman was shaking with laughter the entire time too. And if a 98-minute movie can keep her going for that long, it’s doing something right.
Photo credit: Universal