Movie Review: Despicable Me 2

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A scene from Despicable Me 2 with Steve Carell

Gru (STEVE CARELL) has a big talk with Margo (MIRANDA COSGROVE), Agnes (ELSIE FISHER) and Edith (DANA GAIER) in "Despicable Me 2" - Photo © 2013 Universal Studios.

Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty

“A new villain has surfaced. You know how a villain thinks that’s why we brought you here,” says Silas (Steve Coogan), head of the Anti-Villains League, to Gru (Steve Carell) in hopes of convincing the once evil mastermind to work with them in discovering the identity of a new powerful criminal in the movie sequel Despicable Me 2.
 
Gru – who was once considered the greatest villain of all time – has given up all his evil ways and become a full-time father to Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher), and Edith (Dana Gaier) as well as develop a new jam and jelly enterprise with his old friend Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand). Gru has just finished cleaning up after a successful birthday party for Agnes when Agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) kidnaps him and takes Gru, along with two stowaway minions, to the Anti-Villains League headquarters to convince him to help them learn the identity of a new master criminal who has stolen a special highly dangerous serum. At first, Gru wants nothing to do with the plan of going undercover posing as a baker in the mall where the League is convinced the new evil mastermind is hiding in plain sight as a mall shop owner. But after seeing a few of their new gadgets and seeing his three girls eyes light up when he tells them about the League wanting his help, Gru decides to become a spy for the League.
 
Cute, funny, and charming, Despicable Me 2 is full of laughs and has even more minions. However, it’s missing the heart and emotion of the first film. Steve Carell is perfect once again as the voice of ex-master villain Gru who now prides himself in being a loving and at times overprotective dad. Miranda Cosgrove, Elsie Kate Fisher and Dana Gaier all return as the voices of Margo, Agnes and Edith, but unfortunately their sweet characters and storylines take a back seat to the partnership of Gru and Agent Lucy, voiced effectively and at times annoyingly by Kristen Wiig. The sub-plot of Agnes longing for a mother and hoping Gru and Lucy hit it off feels forced and falls flat. Wiig’s character is neither endearing nor entertaining, and at times during the movie is just plain dumb and irritating. It’s a shame her character makes up as much of the film as she does.
 
The best element of Despicable Me 2 is the ever-popular humorous little yellow minions who provide most of the fun and the biggest laughs in the movie. They have more than double the screen time this time out, which means double the laughs – and they are the key to the new evil mastermind’s dastardly plot to cause chaos in the world.
 
The animation in the film looks just as good as the first one and the use of 3D is extremely impressive in the first few minutes of the film and again during the credits. Sadly, the great use of 3D disappears during most of the rest of the film.
 
Sweet and entertaining, Despicable Me 2 is a fun, worthy sequel to the original film and is sure to entertain the entire family.
 
GRADE: C+
 
Despicable Me 2 opens in theaters on July 3, 2013 and is rated PG for rude humor and mild action.
 

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Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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