Despicable Me 2
A fun, funny, candy-colored movie, Despicable Me 2 will no doubt attract kids and their parents looking for an easy, bubbly respite from the summer heat.
Gru, the loveable pointy-nosed hero/villain from the first movie, has settled into a comfortable existence full of birthday parties and bedtime stories with his three girls: Margo, Agnes and Edith, whom you may recall, Gru rescued from an orphanage in the previous movie. His current day-to-day is a world away from his villainous past. With the help of his loyal scientist, Dr. Nefario, and his gibberish-spewing minions, Gru's latest endeavor is manufacturing a line of fruity jams and jellies.
Unfortunately for Gru, however, this new "nice" life is taking its toll on Dr. Nefario, who pines for the villainous days of yore. Eventually, Dr. Nefario announces that he is leaving Gru having accepted a job offer to go and work for another villain where he can do more good (bad?).
Not long after Dr. Nefario's departure, Gru is reluctantly recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help them nab a new villain who has popped up and is in possession of a serum that turns Gru's joyful, yellow minions into wacky Tasmanian Devil-like trolls. The AVL assigns Lucy, a perky, rookie investigator, to work undercover with Gru in a shopping mall where the AVL believes the new villain, amusingly named El Macho, is working as a front for his evil plan. In the meantime, Margo develops her first boy crush, much to the consternation of Gru, who unexpectedly finds himself hit with Cupid's arrow.
I'm not a huge fan of 3D these days, since it seems as though everything is released in 3D, but the team at Illumination Entertainment renders the third dimension beautifully here. These are technicians working at the top of their craft and releasing a product that is crisp, clear and carefully mounted for the big screen. Make sure to stay in your seat once the end credits start to roll because, as with the first movie, Gru's minions provide a cute coda. Some of the 3D effects during the end credits sequence are particularly eye-popping and reminded me of a time when 3D was a novel experience and you truly felt as though something was coming out of the screen at you!
The cadre of talented voice actors assembled for the film (Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Russell Brand, Benjamin Bratt, Steve Coogan, among others) bring energy and personality to their characters. Every actor is really perfectly cast and each complements the picture nicely.
This sequel tended to be more slapstick funny than I found the first installment to be, but that didn't deter from my enjoyment of it at all. In fact, if the little boy sitting behind me at my screening is any indication, the kids are going to love this! But what's not to love? It's a charming, giggly, heart-warming, eye-catching hour and a half at the movies and the whole family will leave the theater with big, happy smiles on their faces. Mission accomplished!