Monday, July 15, 2013

“Despicable Me 2” is Cute

Three Stars

It’s no surprise that “Despicable Me” is beating everything at the box office. People go to the movies to feel good, be entertained and keep their kids occupied for a couple hours? They don't want to watch the end of the world and people suffer? What a concept, Hollywood. A movie like “Despicable Me 2”, the squeal to the hit “Despicable Me”, works because of it’s characters. They are really lovable and hard to hate, despite the title. Maybe that’s the joke at the center of the “Despicable Me” films, that a villain’s heart is melted by three little orphan girls who appoint him their dad. It’s a pretty basic set up for a kid’s film. I would say “Despicable Me 2” is basically cute. Though, the returning screenwriters from the first film add a lot of heart to this film’s script by laying out the whole idea that Gru (Steve Carrell) is basically a lonely guy. For an animated character in a kid’s film, they spend a lot of time making him relatable as he used to want to take over the world, and basically be the bad guy. In a way, the film is also about getting older. Now, he’s a single dad with three adopted daughters and the soccer moms around him try to set him up. His daughters wonder why he can’t seem to get out there, as we see a flashback of him trying to give a flower to a girl in elementary school but instead her yelling at him after he mistakenly touches her arm.

The film has all the things from the last film. His mad scientist friend, his minions, yellow creatures that talk in gibberish and the big creepy house they live in surrounded by a suburb. The filmmakers have a lot of fun with these minions, silly little yellow creatures that follow their leader around, with a ton of jokes of them being basically silly. Them falling down, them dressing up, them on bikes and running for ice cream. At times, it can be a bit much with the minions, but it’s okay because that’s the kind of film this is. So, Gru is recruited by an anti villain league who want him to go undercover as a shop owner in the local mall to get an evil formula that has been stolen. There he gets paired with the ultra cute (is okay to describe a cartoon character as really cute?) Lucy (Kristen Wiig). It’s a little predictable that she will get together with Gru. While at the mall, Gru meets Edurado, a Mexican guy who runs a restaurant.  Gru suspects him as the villain, because he looks like a villain El Macho, a Mexican wrestler and villain who faked his own death.

The movie spends a surprising amount of time with Gru resisting dating, until he falls in love with Lucy. So, the film goes back and fourth between Gru tracking down this villain and his relationship with Lucy. Meanwhile, the oldest of his daughters, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) falls for the teenage son of the villain. Gru seems more horrified by this than he is by the evildoer’s plan, and it’s relatable for any guy with a daughter.

The voice acting in this film is pretty top notch. Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig sound like a believable couple, and Gru’s kids sound believable too. I believed in the way these characters were speaking, and I like Gru’s accent.

The animation is well done, and the jokes are hit or miss, but the characters are lovable and it’s a well-done kids film with some nice jokes for the parents in the audience. It’s a cute film, and not a bad squeal. Steve Carrell’s Gru made me think a bit about another character he played in other movies and TV shows. Steve Carrell is good at playing the lovable loser, weather he is live action or animated. Michael Scott and Gru have more in common than one thinks.