Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Video review: "Despicable Me 2"

“Despicable Me 2” is essentially more of the same, with super-villain-turned-super-daddy Gru (voice of Steve Carell) turning his attentions away from dastardly plots to raising his three adopted daughters and manufacturing “jams and jellies.” But he gets sucked back into the old life, this time on the side of the good guys, and dallies in a little romance to boot.

It’s not the most ambitious sequel ever made, and if you measure your age in more than single digits, it will likely grow a tad monotonous. But for the young’uns there is a lot of zippy action, cool ray guns and other mad scientist hardware, and plenty of gastrointestinal humor featuring Gru’s gibberish-spouting army of little yellow minions.

Kristen Wiig provides the voice of Lucy, a junior agent of the Anti-Villain League who is assigned to be Gru’s partner. Seems a noxious serum has been stolen that turns the imbiber into a purple berserker, and they believe one of the proprietors of the local mall is the culprit. Gru and Lucy pretend to be cupcake bakers and set about mixing things up.

Gru’s chief target is the owner of the local Mexican restaurant, who bears a resemblance to a presumed dead bad guy named El Macho. But his new bosses aren’t buying the suspicion. Meanwhile, ardor blooms between Gru and Lucy, and his oldest daughter gets all swoony for the putative El Macho’s son.

Most of the best gags involve the minions, including a subplot where they are gradually kidnapped and injected with that serum. (If, like me, you’re wondering why they don’t just make a movie featuring the ochre-hued, overall-wearing little dudes – since that’s what the kiddies really want -- “Minions” is set to drop in 2015.)

I’ve despised a lot of lackluster sequels, but not this one. For a movie that doesn’t try very hard, it’s fun and reasonably entertaining.

The movie comes with a host of good extra features, headlined by three new mini-movies further exploring the world of Gru & Co. Of course, the minions get their own wee adventure. They even come with their own making-of featurettes.

There’s also an interview with Steve Carell, a profile of El Macho, featurettes on gadgets and Gru’s girls, and a commentary track by directors Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin – who also moonlight as the voices of the minions.



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