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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » Despicable Me 2 (3D)
Despicable Me 2 (3D)
Universal // PG // July 3, 2013
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted July 2, 2013 | E-mail the Author
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In 2010, Despicable Me received quite a bit of success, as it continued to receive word-of-mouth for a while after it was released. While it wasn't popular for being unique or original, families enjoyed the humor and the overall nature of the characters. There was a lot to like about the film, since the young orphan girls were adorable and Gru's minions' slapstick had audiences of all ages laughing-out-loud. These small, yellow, genetically humanized kernels had children practically begging for Minion merchandise from their parents. With all of this success, the studio inevitably planned for a sequel. Fast forward a few years, and some teaser trailers started to appear across the Internet. This instantly got fans hyped for the next adventure. Coming from somebody who enjoyed the first, Despicable Me 2 simply lacks a lot of the charm that these motion pictures require.

Ex-villain, Gru (Steve Carell), has decided to dedicate all of his time to his daughters and his new business in which he would make jams and jellies. Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher) are finally getting the chance to live relatively ordinary lives. Lucy (Kristen Wiig) comes along to recruit Gru to the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal. As an ex-villain, the leader believes that Gru will be able to get within the mind of the target. This undercover mission proves to twist and turn into an incredibly dangerous adventure for Gru and everybody he cares about.

Screenwriters Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul begin by displaying where Gru's development has taken him. His growth with the three young girls is undeniable, but the progress seems to have come to a halt. Instead of continuing the journey, the characters seem to remain in the same place. Even though there are a few new personas on screen, none of them are very memorable. The majority of them come across as being the generic people one would expect to see in any ordinary flick made for families. Others come across as being stereotypical roles that don't leave much of an impression. These animated films heavily rely on the leads and their enemies, making them crucial to the final product. If we aren't able to connect with those on screen, the movie's messages won't make much of an impact. Gru loses a lot of his charm, while the three young children receive an incredibly small amount of screen time. Instead of continuing to build them, Despicable Me 2 focuses on the new super criminal, which feels like a pointless narrative direction to take. Writers Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul have made some disappointing decisions for this sequel that left me feeling disappointed.

Gru's minions became the central focal point for these motion pictures. Universal Pictures has been marketing the film by placing these yellow fellows in every poster, teaser, and trailer. The filmmakers have decided to give them even more attention than they received in the first movie. This is most certainly the best part of the entire running time. They have become famous for the slapstick that they bring to the silver screen. Whether they are running around screaming, hitting each other, or snickering at toilet humor, they had me laughing quite a bit. The minions deliver a tone that is always welcome in these movies. Some may find it irritating that they rarely progress the plot, but it truly shouldn't be a problem. Slapstick humor isn't only for children, since it can be enjoyed by viewers of all ages. Despicable Me 2 wouldn't be the same without the minions.

This wouldn't be an animated motion picture if it didn't try to jam as much heart into the story as possible. When Gru isn't pursuing such a predictable mission, he's exploring some of his suppressed feelings towards women. The filmmakers try so hard to make us like the new additions that it comes across as being forced. The characters themselves are likable enough, but the plot uses them in unappealingly predictable ways. Those who are suckers for romance will find it to be sweet, but the rest of us will be left rolling our eyes. Regardless, everything feels like an empty vehicle made entirely for the minions to showcase their comedy. If you're looking for some genuine heart, you won't find much of it here.

Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud have ensured that Despicable Me 2 carries a similar look to its predecessor. The colors are vibrant and clean in every scene. The character animation is as excellent as I remember it being, and the backgrounds have a variety of fantastic textures. The movements are wonderfully smooth, which will aid in keeping your eyes glued to the screen. As expected, Universal Pictures is distributing the movie with the option of seeing it in the 3D format. There's a fair amount of depth to be found throughout and the glasses never hinder the visuals. While it it doesn't necessarily add much to the film, it could have been a lot worse. However, the extra dimension's teeth are truly shown during the end credits. Regardless, I still don't see the appeal of this format.

The filmmakers try pretty hard to get audiences to care for its characters, but it simply doesn't work. Gru isn't funny and his development has become stuck in a strange limbo with this entirely unnecessary plot. Margo, Edith, and Agnes are barely in the film, which is a real shame. They added a lot to the original, making the lack of their presence very noticeable. The minions are clearly the feature's biggest strength, since their slapstick humor continues to be successful. The pieces were right in front of these filmmakers, but they didn't put everything together as I hoped. Despicable Me 2 is a sequel worth renting, but it never truly impresses as it should.

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