Despicable Me 2 review

Review Simon Brew 17 Jun 2013 - 06:55
Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2 brings back Steve Carell's Gru. And it also ups the Minions count by quite a lot...

Right from the off, we'd better be clear: if you didn't like the Minions of Despicable Me 1, then you'd be better off seeing pretty much anything but Despicable Me 2. Responsible for the lion's share of the first film's laughs, and with their own spin-off movie in the works, Despicable Me 2 somewhat inevitably promotes the yellow critters to a more prominent role. And while they're still supporting characters as such, they're what you'll be talking about, for better or worse, come the end credits.

They encapsulate after all what ultimately makes Despicable Me 2 quite hard to resist: they, and it, try so hard to make you laugh, that they're more likely to succeed than not. Granted, sometimes, when all else fails, the film calls for a fart joke or something pretty straightforward, just to keep the engine ticking over. In at least one case, a pretty funny fart joke too. But it's comedy, and quite a range of it, where Despicable Me 2 is on its soundest footing.

At its best, the film recaptures some of the anarchy of the old Looney Tunes and Tom And Jerry cartoons, mixing in slapstick with a bunch of characters who lend themselves exceptionally well to such an approach. Said approach is further fuelled by the sheer pace of the gags at times, not least in the early stages, but it'd be remiss to overlook the fact that there are some decent lines in the script too.

That said, whilst the laugh count is solid, Despicable Me 2 does use the comedy to paper over the cracks elsewhere. It feels a bit like Shrek 2 in that regard. Accepting that the original Shrek was a better film than the first, enjoyable Despicable Me, Shrek 2 had a habit of calling for Donkey and a bit of work from Eddie Murphy when things were slowing up narratively. The same trick is repeated here with Despicable Me 2, but there's only so much that the Minions and the gag cannon can disguise.

It doesn't help that the main story is, while not exactly weak, all a little familiar. It's centred once more around Gru, voiced again by Steve Carell, who has moved on from being a full time supervillain to effectively being a full time father to this three adopted daughters. He's lured, hardly reluctantly, back into his old ways, but he's also got a domestic challenge to face too. The character of Gru remains balanced nicely, and there's a sweetness to the family scenes as well.

That said, it all feels like a familiar variant on the cocktail that formed the basis of the last film, with one difference: here, we get to meet Lucy Wilde, a fun new character voiced by Kristen Wiig. She's comfortably the most interesting addition to the line-up (and a superbly voiced one), even if all of her best material is in the first two acts. Eduardo, voiced by Benjamin Bratt, is less impactful. Perhaps the most interesting thing about that character is what about him led to Al Pacino quitting the project just two months before the film was released. Al Pacino is the man who said yes to Jack And Jill, after all. It's hard to see what in Despicable Me 2 led to him leaving so close to release.

All that notwithstanding, Despicable Me 2 is a fun movie, about at the same level of its predecessor, with perhaps some slightly better laughs. It pales next to something like Pixar's upcoming Monsters University, but there's still enough energy and humour to get it through. And there's a smashing, and very funny, dance number at the end.

However, the idea of the scene-stealing Minions getting a movie to themselves remains troubling. They work very well as supporting characters, but how they fare when they become the star attraction remains to be seen. Certainly the over-the-end-credits scenes don't dampen those concerns.

For now though, Despicable Me 2 is a good, solid sequel, and one where there's a sense that people have put their backs into it to get the laugh count up. There's still a sense that there might be a better film in the midst of the ingredients that have been brought together, but for a good summer comedy, you're not going to be shortchanged. At best, it's a lot of fun.

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I had to watch the same 5 minute clip at a screening of MoS this weekend, TWICE!
Not one single person laughed the first time at the minions and there was an aura of annoyance that was felt during the second run.

Then MoS came on and I completely forgot about it, till this review.. Ha.

it should be pointed
out this is a film aimed at children so although adults may find the minions
unfunny and annoying anyone under the age of 8 think they are the funniest thing
they have ever seen which is why the spin off film will work

"About at the same level of its predecessor" is probably the scariest sentence in all this review. In fact, it makes me forget all the other "fun", "good", "solid"-type positives thrown around trying to asuage my fears.

"Responsible for the lion's share of the first film's laughs, and with their own spin-off movie in the works, Despicable Me 2 somewhat inevitably promotes the yellow critters to a more prominent role."

See, it's poor grammar like in the above sentence that keeps people from taking this site seriously.

*looks sheepish* ........... I find them funny *cough*

Seriously another 3 star so this is comparable to MoS then ? come on dog either change your ratings to percentages or something or have the balls to give it a 2 star, it very much sounds like a 2 star movie

A 3 star family comedy isn't necessarily equal to a 3 star superhero action movie.

They get on my last nerve, BUT, my kids think they're hilarious, so I watch them stoically.

I'm taking my kids to see it. We all saw the first one, laughed a lot and came out of the cinema smiling, not such a bad thing really...

educate us then; how can we learn if you won't show us the error of our ways.

It's not a two star movie though. It's a fun, three star afternoon out.

And no, it's not comparable. I'm not saying it is. Star ratings are an imperfect tool, as we've discussed many times before.

We can only score things as we seen them. Scores have been varied as always this year, from The Hangover III (one star) through to Iron Man 3 (four). But, as always, we're only ever giving our honest opinion. Nothing more, nothing less.

Simon

The thing about Pacino leaving... Surely 2 months before the film was released, he had finished all his dialogue and there was only promotion to do? Seems very odd for another actor to do all his lines again

"Den of Geek"

This site is a perfect. When was the last time you saw a geek without a pimple or two? Keep Calm and Grammar On.

Context.

There's way too much reverence given to Pixar. Their movies have become stale and boring while movies like Despicable Me, Wreck-It-Ralph and even The Croods bring the fun.

Maybe you guys should start you know highlighting family movie ratings in green or something because otherwise it does look like your saying MOS is on the same level as Despicable Me 2 as this site now reviews a far more broader range of movies than it used to doesn't it? Plus do you not think The Hangover is a good watch if you don't view it as a comedy persay which is weird I know.

they're hilarious lol. I think for people who still have their inner child we love stuff like this.... and.. well... the stuffy old boring farts don't :p

which i appreciate, the whole critic game is an opinion based industry.
It might just be the last couple of reviews I read seemed to get 3 stars and they were all very different beasts.

I'm trying to remember one review on this site that didn't award 3/5 stars.

Agreed. Pixar had a great run until 2010, but since then I've not been impressed as much as I have by other studios. Cars 2 was unspeakably bad and Brave was ok, but neither were a patch on any of the movies you mentioned.

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