Anyone who saw the 2010 surprise summer hit Despicable Me knew that there had to be a sequel coming. Sometimes that can be a good thing (i.e. Toy Story 2 and 3) and sometimes that can be a bad thing (i.e. Hoodwinked 2). In this case Despicable Me 2 returns all the things that made the first one fun. This includes the little yellow Minions getting into all kinds of trouble and mischief. They are so popular that I’ve even read that there is a Minions movie being planned. (Watch during the credits for something related to this.)
In this sequel Gru is being a great father to the three little girls he adopted in the first one. The youngest, Agnes, is celebrating her sixth birthday. She is just as utterly and completely adorable as she was in the first film. The entire movie can’t just be Gru and the kids, though, so we start to see some problems coming Gru’s way. A secret formula that will turn people and animals into ravaging monsters has been stolen. Gru’s minions seem to be disappearing. His scientist, Dr. Nefario, resigns because the new jams and jellies company Gru is launching just isn’t working. Agnes wants Gru to bring her a mom. All these pale in comparison to Gru’s biggest problem: his oldest daughter Margo just discovered boys.
Gru has to try to deal with all of these things while at the same time trying to figure out who stole the formula. He’s recruited by the Anti-Villain League to go undercover with another agent named Lucy. They run a cupcake shop in a mall where the AVL has discovered traces of the formula. Is the bad guy Eduardo who runs the Salsa restaurant? Maybe it’s Floyd who runs the hair salon. Gru is sure he recognizes Eduardo as a supposedly dead villain by the name of El Macho. When he finds out the boy Margo has a crush on is Eduardo’s son he’s bound and determined to stop them, formula or no formula. In the meantime Gru and Lucy start to make a connection.
Trying to find who stole the formula is just the device to drive the story. The movie is really about Gru, his daughters, and his minions. There are a number of comedic moments involving the latter, from trying to stop a car that has Gru in it, to relaxing in an island paradise, to appearing as various characters from the 1970s.
Speaking of which, there are a bunch of references and in jokes for the adults who see this. Anyone old enough to remember the 70s will recognize Isaac the bartender from Love Boat, the Village People, the chestburster scene from Alien, and the pointing scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. For the not so old there are some references to newer fare, including the Nokia commercial of Bruce Lee playing ping pong with nunchuks. There is also quite possibly a reference to the just released World War Z. I’m not sure how they would have done it in time, but there’s a minions piling on each other to scale an object scene that is a duplicate of the zombies piling on each other from World War Z. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence.
All of the voices from the first film return to this one. This includes Kristen Wiig who voices a different character (Lucy). The other returnees are Steve Carell (Gru), Miranda Cosgrove (Margo), Dana Gaier (middle daughter Edith), Elsie Kate Fisher (Agnes), and Russell Brand (Dr. Nefario). Joining them this time around are Benjamin Bratt as Eduardo, Ken Jeong as Floyd, and Steve Coogan as the named-to-guarantee-boys-giggle Silas Ramsbottom (who looks a lot like a fat James Fox). Finally, Kristen Schaal, who voices troublemaker Shannon, adds another animated movie series to her resume after having also done voices in Pixar’s Toy Story 3 and DreamWorks’ Shrek Forever After.
If you liked Despicable Me then you should definitely see Despicable Me 2. It is just as fun as the first one. If you especially liked the minions in the original then you have to see the sequel. If you have not seen the first one then you should before watching this one. For everyone else, if this sounds interesting then I recommend you give it a try.
Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars