Despicable Me 2

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +2

Voice Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong, Steve Coogan, Moises Arias, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher and Al Pacino. Genre: 3D-CG comedy adventure. Written by: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio. Directed by: Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainmentís worldwide blockbuster Despicable Me entertained audiences around the globe in 2010, grossing more than $540 million and becoming the tenth-biggest animated motion picture in U.S. history. July 3, 2013, get ready for more Minion madness in Despicable Me 2.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I feel sorry for those who donít like animated films, thinking that genre to be too childish. The good ones are generally witty and they manage to be entertaining without being overtly political or excessively crude. I think back to Wall-E, remembering that first 20 minutes or so to be some of the best filmmaking I can remember. Bolt opened with a great chase, ala James Bond only better. Where the opening sequence for Quantum of Solace, which I had seen the night before back in 2008, was muddled by extreme close-ups and quick cutting, Boltís adroit draftsmanship immediately drew us into the chase as if we were a part of the action. Up begins with two children discovering that they are soul-mates and wannabe explorers. Spring ahead, they marry and share a wonderful life. But before they can finally go off to explore, life gets in the way. The house needs repair. He breaks his leg. She gets pregnant. All the while they are having a great adventure, two people sharing a life. But the film doesnít just share cotton candy moments. As in life, the couple has their share of troubles. We see their joy at learning they will have a baby, only to lose the child at birth. Later, after a full life, the woman passes on. Though these are tearful moments, they are sensitively handled, giving the story and characterizations depth and feeling. Thereís so much wit and heart to this production Ė thatís the type of film I would think enriches little ones as well as accompanying adults. My point: good animation can speak to and entertain everyone.

And thatís just what Despicable Me 2 does. In the first installment of what I hope will be many, we learn that super villain Mr. Gru is not really evil. Heís just in need of a little love. A mix of The Addams Familyís Uncle Fester and Mike Myersí Dr. Evil, Mr. Gru delighted in popping childrenís balloons and threatening to kill the neighborís dog for pooping on his lawn. He was so out of touch with humanity that when he adopted three little girls in order to further his plan for world dominance, he thought they were to be treated like puppies (the first night they entered Gruís home, he put out a water dish, a food dish, and a paper for them to pee on). But soon the girls changed his thinking and began to break through to his unfeeling heart. Like Scrooge, he converted to the good side by storyís end. But like all movies that make a bunch of money for a studio, a sequel was soon developed.

Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal. Aided by his loving and lovable adopted daughters, we are given a sweet-natured yet action-packed cartoon adventure, aided by lots of Stooges-like slapstick. Not quite in league with recent Disney greats (Tangled, Tinker Bell, Wall-E, Brave), but Universal has done a great job incorporating creative, witty dialogue and plotlines, and properly uses 3D to its maximum effect.

I brought my 90-year-old mom and 7-year-old great-niece, Megan, both of whom enjoyed the comedy and action antics. Miss Megan said it was better than the first one, but personally I thought it lacked that intangible something that propels a good film into the realm of classic. It seems we critics never can completely agree.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: There are a couple of poop jokes, but most of the humor is funny and creative.

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: In keeping with the sensibilities of todayís moviegoers, the film spends most of its time being an actioneer, with the Minions being injected with a serum that turns them into man-eating goblins; but there is enough humor to lighten the mood; though I didnít hear any objections in the form of shrieking spells from little ones, still, a parent should attend to reassure rug-rats, I mean, little ones; the good guys have guns to defend themselves against the now dangerous Minions, but the guns are filled with a jelly that contains an antidote that transforms them back into gentle beings.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: The Minions do some drinking, partying a little too hardy in one scene.

Other: None

Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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