Thursday, March 6, 2014

Short Cut Movie Review: Despicable Me 2

Short Cut Movie Review is normally less than 400 words, but in some cases may go slightly over. This is my attempt to keep writing about as many films as I see without getting bogged down with trying to find more to say. They are meant to be brief snapshots of my reaction to a movie without too much depth.

Following the surprise hit Despicable Me from 2010 comes its sequel, which successfully accomplishes the feat of finding new things for old characters to do in a new movie without repeating a formula. Gru (Steve Carell) is now a retired master villain trying to raise three little girls he adopted at the end of the last movie.

An international spy agency, headed by Silas (Steve Coogan), enlists his help to identify and help take down the master villain who stole an unusual formula that can turn cute, cuddly little critters into raging blue bundles of id. Inevitably, the formula gets applied to the minions, those hilarious and jittery little guys who make this franchise sail.

Russell Brand returned as Gru’s assistant, Dr. Nefario, who leaves to take an offer from another villain after failing to find fulfillment making jams and jellies for the now-straight-shooting Gru. Kristin Wiig also returns, although in a different role, this time as Gru’s partner in spying, Lucy. Benjamin Bratt rounds out the voice cast as Eduardo, the owner of a kitschy Mexican eatery in the shopping mall where Gru has to look for the villain.

The movie was once again directed by Chris Penaud and Pierre Coffin from a screenplay by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. It handles the spy and James Bond spoof material far better than Cars 2 did and there’s something really hilariously subversive about staging such big action and international intrigue in a giant shopping mall, as if to juxtapose the banality of Gru’s new life with the excitement of his former one.

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