Gru and his yellow, gobbledygook-spewing, Contac-capsule-shaped minions are baaaack! “Despicable Me 2” picks up where “Despicable Me” left off, but if you didn’t see the first installment, no worries, “2” is a hoot without it. All you need to know is that Gru (Steve Carell) is former dastardly doer of evil deeds on a planetary scale. A villain stylin’ like a Russian spy from the Cold War, complete with a 1960’s oversized turtleneck and skinny slacks.
Gru has settled down as a “legitimate businessman,” but what matters most to him now is his girls: “I’m a father now” is the excuse that keeps him out of a lot of trouble. He glories in his responsibilities toward his three spirited fillies, and the littlest one, Agnes, can melt his heart with the bat of an eyelash. But, of course, this domestic bliss is not to go unchallenged. Evil forces are at work in the world, and Gru is recruited to counteract them on account of his super villain skills (he stole the moon, but as Gru is quick to remind everyone: “…but I put it back”).
A fourth spunky female enters Gru’s life in the form of red-headed agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) of the Anti-Villain League. When they become partners in anti-crime, Gru is too frozen in his bad childhood memories of playground rejection and humiliation by girls to even entertain the thought of asking Lucy out. But his daughters pour on the pressure because “it’s time” for Gru to date, and little Agnes would sure love a Mom. Speaking of dating, the eldest girl, Margot, is getting sweet on a boy, and all the fiery Papa Grizzly in Gru comes out (to hilarious effect, of course).
There are so many great scenes and sequences in “2” that it’s hard to know where to start. Gru in love? It’s like the scene in “Enchanted” where Amy Adams’ character flounces through the park. The minions turning purple? The lipstick taser? The ice cream truck? The minion firemen? “El Macho” grabbing a random woman off the street to dance with? The minions as Boys To Men and then Village People cover bands (singing in minion language, of course)? There are just too many to count.
Kids will love this film (especially for the endlessly entertaining “sideshow” but also “main plot” minions), but adults will love it even more because of all the subtle and sophisticated humor. The only objectionable parts were the way a “bad date” of Gru’s gets treated (the violence done to the young woman is a bit extreme, even though partially unintended), and some heavy-duty, maximum Mexican stereotyping in bad guy “El Macho.” And, I’d like to know who declared open season on fat people and fake people.
“2” is a delightful collaboration (two directors and two screenwriters with impeccable credentials) with a strong dose of what feels almost like French whimsy, brought to you by Universal Studios, not known for animation, but certainly rivaling the best of Pixar. Sharpen your eyes and ears because there’s much to miss in every packed, juicy minute.
--Funny, funny, funny.
--Ma caught something I didn’t. When a hi-tech scope zeroes in on Gru’s macabre little lower-mandible challenged “dog” (also in the first film), the scope registers “species unknown.” :D
--There are some incredibly great and funny lines that I would love to share with you, but I’m #nospoiler.
--“2’s” equipment and contraptions are better than Bond’s any day.
--THEOLOGY OF THE BODY? Yup! Gru is just so respectful of women! AND so cutely shy! AND: “What is fun without rules?” could be applied to TOB! AND “147 dates”! AND Gru has to rescue Lucy! AND other stuff!
--Revenge of the lab bunnies!
--Once a spy, always a spy.
--One of my fav scenes: the rogue purple minion POV cam!
--Secret weapon: Agnes’ bloodcurdling scream.
--The attack chicken could actually have been funnier. IMHO.
--Lots of DISCO! Yesss! It’s LONG OVERDUE for a comeback! Thank you, Daft Punk! Props also to Heitor Pereira and Pharrell Williams for great original music.
--Google: “1960’s men’s turtleneck.” Ha ha.
--Google: “lipstick taser.” They exist!
--Very fun, cool and swinging “Mission Impossible-esque” themed soundtrack.
--One of the screenwriters, Cinco Paul, went to USC film school AND graduated summa cum laude from Yale. Um, that’s prolly why the script is so SMART.
--The minions always teeter on the brink of taking over the movie, but never do.
--Minions speak a mixture of Minion, French, Spanish and English!
--LOVE Lucy’s lady-spy turquoise raincoat!
--Gru: “What is fun without rules?”
--“I choose Gru!”
--Look for a quick cameo by Gru’s mother!
--I believe that, perhaps in general, American audiences are spoiled. In the sense that they are ruined. In the sense that maybe they have a surfeit of (often high quality) entertainment and so cannot savor, linger on the genius and joy of something like “Despicable Me.” People hardly laugh at the funniest movies. Have you noticed this??? Is it because they SKIM everything in life now with receding attention spans and nothing sinks in, nothing sticks, nothing deeply tickles the funny bone? Or brings pure delight to the imagination? Are they just mundanely going to watch a piece of something from Netflix on their smartphone in the cinema parking lot or play Candy Crush? FOLKS IN MY THEATER FILED OUT AS THE CREDITS ROLLED AND THEY COULD CLEARLY SEE THAT THERE WAS A TON OF MINION EXTRAS AND STINGERS!!!! MEH???!!!
--I am so ready for “Despicable Me 3” and a gajillion other movies like it.