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.
It also helps that every scene is full of hilarious details, including references to film classics, a non-stop stream of riotous sight-gags and chaotic action sequences that are funny but never scary. Once again, the minions steal the show with their amusing gibberish dialog and a refusal to do anything as expected. And the talented voice actors put their egos aside to create thoroughly likeable characters. So even if it's not much more than a lot of frenetic chaos woven in with poo and fart jokes, the high-energy goofiness at least keeps us laughing.
Run time: 98 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 3rd July 2013
Box Office USA: $368.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $970.8M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Illumination Entertainment, Universal Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Fresh: 126 Rotten: 45
IMDB: 7.5 / 10
Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Producer: Janet Healy, Christopher Meledandri
Starring: Steve Carell as Gru, Kristen Wiig as Lucy, Benjamin Bratt as Eduardo/ El Macho, Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario, Ken Jeong as Floyd, Steve Coogan as Silas, Elsie Kate Fisher as Agnes, Dana Gaier as Edith, Moisés Arias as Antonio, Nasim Pedrad as Jillian, Kristen Schaal as Shannon
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