The original “Despicable Me” almost rose to the levels of Pixar, with its infectious fun and Steve Carell having the time of his life speaking in that goofy voice as Gru. Now, Gru is back in action in “Despicable Me 2,” but instead of stealing the moon, the former supervillain is looking for love.
What made “Despicable Me” so much fun was seeing how the three orphaned girls melted Gru’s heart, all while he was trying to steal the moon. That juxtaposition between good and evil gave the film real substance, elevating it beyond mere children’s movie. The stakes aren’t nearly as high in the sequel, which partners Gru with Lucy (Kristen Wiig), an agent with the Anti-Villain League. Together, they go undercover at a shopping mall to locate a new super criminal that Gru believes may be the presumed dead El Macho. As the two search for the criminal, Gru’s children are trying to help him find a girlfriend as he begins to have feelings for Lucy.
One can only imagine how many takes Carell ruins when he’s reading lines for Gru. With that awful Russian accent of his, he always seems on the brink of breaking into a giggle fit. Wiig, with her dry delivery, is enjoyable, but nobody seems to have as much fun as Benjamin Bratt, who voices Eduardo, the Mexican restaurant owner.
As fun as the Minions were in “Despicable Me,” they never were as funny as they could’ve been. Most of the time they ran around, making funny sounds and messing up things in Gru’s hidden lair. They still haven’t reached their full potential, but the Minions at least play an integral role in “Despicable Me 2,” as the little yellow guys play into the new villain’s master plan. The Minions are also surprisingly adept at choreographed singing.
With the Minions, fart guns and the infectious performances, the younger ones should love “Despicable Me 2” as much as the original. Parents may not fall in love with Gru all over again, but when a movie has a fart gun in it, chances are the movie isn’t for them anyway.