Gru and his girls are back! 2010’s Despicable Me was, in my opinion, brilliant. The redeeming tale of an evil genius whose callous heart was melted by three orphaned girls captivated audiences all over the world. The delightful story truly epitomised the phrase classic family entertainment. When a sequel was announced, I was worried, as follow-ups are almost never as interesting. Their storylines seem to either be strikingly similar to the originals with the addition of new characters or so soft they are virtually undetectable. Unfortunately, I had a right to be concerned as Despicable Me 2 fell into the latter category. The plot had lost some of its initial charm and was slightly patchy and sporadic. The writers had clearly fallen short of inspiration and decided to fill these gaping holes with interjections of everyone’s favourite sidekicks, the Minions. But here’s the surprise, it all worked fantastically well. The tremendously cute and funny Minions coupled with the adorability factor possessed by Agnes means the flimsy slightly drawn out plot could be overlooked.
Despicable Me 2 sees Gru (Steve Carell) facing new challenges. The man who stole the moon is a reformed character. Now a retired villain, Gru along with Dr Nefario (Russell Brand), spends his time developing a line of jams and jellies – he has become considerably mellower since the last film. But when a serum transforming creatures into purple, hairy, extremely aggressive versions of themselves falls into the wrong hands he is recruited by the anti villain league to get it back. However, saving the world is only a back drop in this film. Hardly surprising as the enemy is an easily defeated villain, who doesn’t really pose a threat at all. Rather it is all about Gru’s family and the trials and tribulations of everyday life. His girls Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) are all growing up. So Gru must learn to deal with the angst of teenage love, single parenting and dating. There’s even a mention of online dating for Gru; a profile I’m sure we would all love to see. Kristen Wiig is also back playing a new character, Lucy Wilde (she voiced Miss Hattie in the first film). She is an anti-villain league agent, armed with a lipstick taser, who is partnered with Gru to solve the mystery; she also happens to be his love interest. Shock horror.
What’s so special about this film though is that the creators have managed to do the unthinkable; they have broken into a wider demographic. This film doesn’t simply appeal to children; adults seem to love it as well. I know this because there were a disproportionate number of adults watching the film in the viewing I was in. Most of who were making more noise than the children. That’s the best aspect of this movie. It’s not just family entertainment it is amusing to all ages. I said before, but it is worth emphasising, the Minions really make this film a hit. The directors had enough sense to give them a much larger proportion of screen time and it was definitely the right decision. Their gibberish language, immature games and silly, obvious childlike humour will have audiences laughing throughout. Not only this, but there are a surprising number of jokes for the adults, including a rendition of YMCA complete with costumes from the Minions. It’s no wonder a spin-off/prequel titled Minions is set to be released in 2014.
Despicable Me 2 (2013), directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, is released in the UK by Universal Pictures, Certificate PG.