In terms of box office, it may be difficult for ‘Despicable Me 2’ to beat its predecessor, which made over $543 million just three years ago. Nevertheless, the directors and writers are back again with Steve Carrell as the wacky former criminal mastermind Gru, who we last saw stealing the moon. How can one top that? This fun sequel may lack the heart and soul of the first film, but it’s still highly entertaining for both kids and adults with its amazing animated visuals, laughs, great voice cast and those lovable Minions.
A small amount of time has passed since the last movie. We see Gru happily living his new life, free of any villainous activity. Sure, he still has his weapons, but he uses them more to get rid of annoying neighbors who constantly want to set him up with their single girlfriends. Gru still takes care of his three adopted daughters: Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher). In the middle of a BBQ birthday party for Agnes, he’s kidnapped by the Anti-Villain League to help find a new dastardly criminal who has stolen a top-secret research lab, by way of a giant flying magnet.
Gru gets paired with the incredible new AVL recruit Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig). They’re told to set up an undercover operation at a frilly cupcake shop in a fancy mall. Their intel says that the villain is also undercover in the mall. The two will have to find out who the mystery man is before the world meets its impending doom. Gru quickly suspects the boisterous Eduardo Perez (Benjamin Bratt), owner of a wild Mexican restaurant and a dead ringer for the evil villain El Macho, who was thought to have died a long time ago when riding a shark with tons of explosives into an active volcano. (Take note, Syfy Network!)
These types of situations make the new installment a bit more bonkers than the first movie, but the creative team makes it work, even if this one seems to be more about the action and adventure than telling a story. It’s nice to see Gru’s daughters help him out in a side-story about dating. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments when Gru goes on a blind date. And of course the Minions are back in full force.
Carrell and Wiig do stellar jobs lending their voices to make these characters truly come alive, but the real star of the show is Benjamin Bratt as El Macho. Al Pacino was once attached to play this part, but dropped out for creative differences. I’m so glad this happened, as Bratt just owns the voice role. Russell Brand returns as Dr. Nefario, and Steve Coogan and Ken Jeong have minor but hilarious parts as well.
‘Despicable Me 2’ is quite enjoyable, despite lacking the emotional pull the first film had. It’s packed with laughs, terrific visuals and great voice work. The Minions are amped up to 11 this time around and perform a few musical numbers, which will certainly make you laugh out loud. Don’t forget to stay through the credits, as our little yellow Minions hold auditions.
I could’ve done without the oversimplified racial stereotypes of El Macho and that insipid hair club owner voiced by Ken Jeong (of course he’s voiced by Ken Jeong…ugh).
However, the rest of the movie I enjoyed.The minions were fun, but didn’t overshadow Gru’s story. They did kinda bump the girls to the backburner though. So if you’re a fan of the three little girls there isn’t nearly as much of them in this movie as the first. Overall, it’s a fun time though.