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Entertainment

July 2, 2013

Minions turn “Despicable 2” into a delight

— The animated family film, “Despicable Me” was a surprise hit back in 2010, but the sequel, arriving just in time for the Independence Day holiday weekend won’t catch anybody by surprise. “Despicable Me 2” will be a major hit thanks primarily to the film’s army of silly yellow minions.

As most people could have predicted, those minions get a much larger role in the movie this time around. They nearly steal the show here, which is a good thing, I suppose, considering that they’re getting their own sequel in late 2014. They are far and away the best part about “Despicable Me 2.”

That being said, the film is still focused on reformed super-villain, Gru (Steve Carell). He’s settled down to play daddy after adopting his three little girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and little Agnes (Elsie Fisher). His latest nefarious plan is to develop a line of tasty jams and jellies. Obviously, being a daddy has changed Gru.

Things get back to normal when an agent from the Anti-Villain League recruits Gru to join the good guys and go after a new bad guy who has a serum that transforms cute creatures into ferocious monsters. Gru accepts the challenge, and along the way, meets a female agent (Kristen Wiig) who might just be his perfect match.

Enough about the story proper. We all know that it’s the antics of the minions that will make or break this film. They prove to be a lot of silly fun. The minions start off as a mix of domesticated babysitters and assistants in the jam business, but they can never quite do anything right, so things quickly spiral out of control.

The slapstick nature of their actions reminds me of the best Looney Tunes cartoons, where the laws of physics can be conveniently suspended anytime the filmmakers need a quick laugh. They provide the bulk of the film’s comedic charm. Make sure that you stick around for the end credits as the little yellow guys have some additional funny moments after the main story ends.

The rest of the cast doesn’t fare as well, but stealing the show from the minions would be an impossible task. There are some fun new characters, including a potential suspect (Benjamin Bratt) who works at a Mexican restaurant. He bears a striking resemblance to El Macho, another super-villain character who died when he rode a shark into a volcano while carrying 250lbs of TNT. It’s the silly details like that that make “Despicable Me 2” into such an amusing charmer.

I do think that the original film was superior to this sequel. The first story gave Gru more to do and his conversion to fatherhood was truly touching. His character is a little too familiar this time around, so the film doesn’t seem quite as fresh. Still, there’s plenty here to delight both parents and their kids. “Despicable Me 2” could just as easily be named, “Delightful Me.”

 

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@kboi2.com.

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