labe- Despicable Me 2 (2013) leaves its evil mayhem behind - Oh So Geeky

Despicable Me 2 (2013) leaves its evil mayhem behind

The first film was so fluffy! In Despicable Me, Gru was a grumpy aspiring villain with plans to capture da-moooooon. Temporarily adopting three young girls - Agnes, Edtih, and Margo - and making them sell cookies to his arch-nemesis (thus getting important intel on his operations), Gru's icy cold heart is slowly melted. Along with his lovable minions of Twinkie similarities, Gru becomes a father to the three girls.

Transitioning into the second film Despicable Me 2, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) has become a full-fledged father. No longer in the villain business, he is taking up selling jellies and jams. He's still a bit of a grumpygills - at least where his daughters are concerned. He'll dress up as a fairy princess during Agne's birthday when his hired one fails to show up and take on a protective role to daughter Margo when she is becoming interested in boys.

Out of the blue Gru is recruited to join the Anti Villain League by quirky agent Lucy Wilde (voiced by Kristen Wiig). There is a new super villain on the loose who has stolen a secret mutating formula which transforms living things into indestructible monsters. Together, Gru and Lucy not-so-secretly investigate the local mall where this super criminal has been tracked down.

From there on, and even before, I kept waiting for a bit more. Much of the films felt like a checklist of jokes used in the first one. We have a cute flashback of Gru's depressing childhood, inappropriate Hispanic-related humor, and minions - lots and lots of minions. The story itself intertwines in different directions without getting anywhere specific.

Gru's daughters become in love with the idea that he should settle down. Some loudmouth obnoxious neighbor keeps trying to hook him up on dates. One of which is shown between Gru and some Valley California girl, and it's just plain awkward. When Gru realizes the special gal he is in love with, even two animated characters don't share enough chemistry to make it feel not forced.

And, this new villain the whole movie is based around, is really just thrown in there for kicks. One of the suspects Eduardo Perez/El Macho hits so many Hispanic stereotypes it's hard to keep track; his son being a Latin lover who easily disposes of Margo in their brief encounter, numerous comments about lack of hygiene, etc. There isn't any fun development with him being a bad guy. Other than he strapped himself to a shark rigged with dynamite into a exploding volcano. That part was pretty bad ass!

Everyone in the film though is just sorta there. Especially the minions. Almost every scene is strung together with Gru's helpers. You almost become minionized because nothing else in the film is really consistent. We see them in 70s wardrobes, as knights and princesses, baring their naked little bottoms, as a maid cleaning up the house, firefighters, and as furry little purple monsters. They are there, do something cute, and that's the entire film.

Except it really shouldn't be. The film could've been a whole lot better. You still love Gru. You still love the girls. But there's no Julie Andrews as Gru's mother. Some jokes were giggle-worthy but many made the movie stop and go. Like "*joke* *pause for laughter* *another joke* *pause for laughter*". It lacked an overall a through-line - except Gru settles down and it feels a bit forced.

I kept waiting for more of that special magic to return where the studios weren't promoting the minions, the minions, all of those minions. It really is a sad day when I can only give a cute series like Despicable Me a brutal one and a half star. But we still have the first one and I'd like to leave it at that.

Rating: ★☆☆

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