With the same teams of writers and directors, this sequel sticks closely to the winning formula of the 2010 original: pile on so much snappy humour and colourful wackiness that no one will worry about the plot. So the film is sweetly engaging and relentlessly hilarious, but there's nothing particularly inventive or memorable about it.
After discovering his less villainous side, Gru (Carell) is now trying to go legit with his sidekick Dr Nefario (Brand) and their horde of mischievous yellow minions. Gru is also enjoying the challenges of being a father to his lively adopted daughters Margo, Agnes and Edith (Cosgrove, Fisher and Gaier). Then he meets the undercover spy Lucy (Wiig) and her boss Silas (Coogan), who ask for his help hunting down the bad guy who stole a secret government chemical. Gru reluctantly takes the job, and his suspicion falls on Eduardo (Bratt), not because he looks just like former fellow villain El Macho, but because Margo is in love with his surly teen son (Arias).
As before, the film mixes cute family sentimentality with wacky cartoon slapstick in which everyone gets smashed, pounded and blown up but emerges unscathed to face the next bit of outrageous mayhem. The violent undercurrents are sometimes a little disturbing, especially when children are talking about murder, but the movie's wildly ridiculous tone constantly reminds us to stop taking anything seriously. Thankfully, we're constantly distracted by the whizzy, action-packed animation, which makes especially witty use of the 3D.
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