Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong, Steve Coogan, Moisˇs Arias, Nasim Pedrad, Kristen Schaal, Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, Vanessa Bayer
Written by: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul
Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
MPAA Rating: PG for rude humor and mild action
Running Time: 98
Date: 07/03/2013

Despicable Me 2 (2013)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Rude Brood

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

My son has seen Despicable Me, but I did not get a chance to watch it with him. I've only seen bits and pieces passing near the TV set. This time, I decided not to make the same mistake and took him with me to see the sequel, Despicable Me 2. Fortunately, first-timers like myself are easily immersed into this wonderfully kooky world without too much information lost.

Supervillain Gru (voiced by Steve Carrel) has renounced crime and devoted himself to raising his three adopted girls, Margo (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (voiced by Elsie Fisher), and Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier). Now Gru is busy making "jellies and jams," although he's not above being slightly despicable from time to time. The only thing missing is a potential mate for Gru, and a potential mom for the girls.

However, the Anti-Villain League recruits Gru to help on a perplexing case. A mysterious bad guy has used a giant magnet to steal an entire laboratory. Inside the laboratory was a nefarious chemical, which, if in the wrong hands, could be highly destructive. Along for the ride is a goofy, cute agent, Lucy Wilde (voiced by Kristen Wiig). Their job is to determine the identity of the bad guy, who has set up a shop in the local mall.

The minions are back, involved in more ridiculous, hilarious sight gags, and the eldest girl, Agnes, is given her first taste of schoolgirl love.

As directed once again by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and written once again by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, the movie captures that magical mixture: naughtiness and goodness. The characters are allowed to misbehave, and sometimes to get away with it, and this bad behavior is counterbalanced by their general goodness and heroism. The "naughty" jokes are fairly fleeting, but pretty funny. The directors are also wise enough to let their funny cast members contribute their own loony ideas. In particular, I doubt anyone but Ms. Wiig could have come up with some of Lucy's behavior.

The movie is paced very well, with some exciting set-pieces, and the rude humor isn't terribly offensive or obligatory. Overall, Despicable Me 2 is one of the more enjoyable animated movies of the year.

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