Too many minions
Film Review: Despicable Me 2 (G, general release, 98 minutes) 2 STARS
Director: Pierre Coffin Stars: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Miranda Cosgrove
Released in the autumn of 2010, Despicable Me was a cheerful and unpretentious animation that told the story of a dastardly Bond-style villain called Gru.
Helped by a small army of squeaky yellow minions called, well, Minions, Gru set out to steal the moon but had his tune changed by three lovable orphan girls who melted his icy heart.
Despicable Me was unremarkably animated but charming and winningly funny: more importantly it was made for a modest $69m and earned over $500m. Ergo this sequel, in which Gru (Steve Carell) has settled down and become a surrogate father to the girls until trouble comes a-calling.
Gru is abducted by a winsome agent called Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) and taken to the undersea HQ of the Anti-Villain League. A new villain has emerged and is threatening the safety of the world with a deadly serum that turns tame animals into raging killers. Gru is recruited to help catch the baddie.
Despicable Me worked because its action was undercut by deprecating humour, and because Carell did a brilliant job of voicing the lonely and only halfheartedly evil Gru. In this sequel he's a reformed man, a fact that robs his character of his essential animus and leads to a convoluted plot.
The Minions were used sparingly enough in DM1, but pop up so often here that their antics become irritating.
In addition, a sequence in which Minions are transformed into seething purple monsters may frighten children under the age of six.
Given that there aren't enough jokes to entertain accompanying adults, it's hard to know who Despicable Me 2 will satisfy, and the sterling efforts of Carell and Wiig are largely squandered.
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