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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    About 150 feet in front of the Duke Chapel doors.

    "Despicable Me 2" Review

    Since most of my movie going is now relegated to what appeals to a 10-year-old girl, you can bet "Despicable Me 2" was high on our list this year. It's a follow-up to the 2010 release "Despicable Me", which was one of the wave of really excellent animated films released in 2010 (along with "Toy Story 3", "How to Train Your Dragon", and "MegaMind"). The original introduced us to Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell using a Slavic accent), a super villain whose supremacy in the villain world was being threatened by a newer, younger villain upstart named Vector. In the battle for "top villain", and to ensure continued funding from the Bank of Evil, Gru hatched a plot to steal the Moon using a shrink ray, but Vector gets the shrink ray first, and Gru had to infiltrate Vector's lair/fortress to get it. He ended up using three little orphan girls selling cookies to help him break through Vector's defenses. But in the process, he ends up bonding with the girls, and they soften his heart and reform his evil tendencies.

    "Despicable Me" was a heartwarming, cleverly written tale with some inventive ideas and fun visuals. And it introduced us to Gru's minions - little capsule-shaped creatures with arms, legs, and a varying number of eyes that assisted Gru in innumerable ways and often provided much of the humor in the original.

    So, the plot of "Despicable Me 2" picks up not too long after the end of the first film. Gru is trying to make jellies as a legitimate business. It's not going that well, and he misses the excitement and cool gadgets of his past. He's also struggling with some of the realities of parenthood - like facing the fact that the girls are getting older. (The oldest, Margot [Miranda Cosgrove], has developed a terrifying interest in boys.) Along comes the Anti-Villain League, a worldwide organization dedicated to addressing threats to the world posed by supervillains. They have caught wind of a new plot based on a super serum that turns harmless creatures into indestructible, unthinking eating machines, and they've tracked the serum to a suburban mall in Gru's town. They want Gru's help to figure out who is the mastermind behind the serum plot. Gru is excited about the idea of the work and the gadgets and so he goes undercover as a bakery owner, and gets a partner in Lucy, an eccentric AVL agent.

    I won't describe the plot further, but I'm sad to say that DM2 falls prey to the same forces that often turn fun original films into formulaic sequels. Much of the cleverness and inventiveness of the first film is lost here. Instead, we get tired plot lines about kids growing up and parenthood pressures and even a formulaic love story between Gru and Lucy. IMO, the most interesting part of the film was a new character - "El Macho" - who was a great supervillain of the past who may or may not be the owner of a Mexican restaurant in the mall and may or may not be behind the serum plot. But we get little of El Macho's backstory, and an opportunity is lost. DM2 is only 98 minutes long, so there was room to do some fun stuff for another 10-15 minutes without dragging things out, but that would have required some creative effort... What the filmmakers saw fit to exploit was the popularity of the minions - a sideshow in the original that have been promoted to a much larger role in the sequel. Their slapstick, while entertaining, is a cheap and hollow way to gets laughs and fill time.

    This isn't an awful movie - the minions ARE funny, and Carrell still does a good job with Gru. Adults won't be agonizing to leave in this film like they might in other kiddie fare. But neither will they be as entertained as they can be by true quality family films. My 10-year-old had a good time, and I'm sure we'll be adding "Despicable Me 2" to our DVD collection come Christmas, but I won't be interested in watching it with her.

    My IMDB rating: 6/10.

    Andre Dawkins: “People ask me if I can still shoot, and I ask them if they can still breathe. That’s kind of the same thing.”

  2. #2
    That's what I was looking for... will my 5, 8, and 10 year olds like it? They STILL quote the first one. My 5 year old daughter is already quoting the lipstick taser line from the trailer.

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