Movie Review: Story takes backseat to Minions in Despicable Me 2
Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Writers: Ken Daurio (screenplay), Cinco Paul (screenplay)
Stars: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove
Synopsis: Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal.
Despicable Me 2 brings back the same directing duo from the 2010 film in Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. Like that film, they do an admirable job here, putting together a decent story with impressive visuals and a talent voice cast. The story is a little disjointed at times, focusing on one aspect when it probably should be focusing on another, but having the Minions play a bigger role this time around was a good idea on their part. The visuals are quite good and sequences are shot well and it appeared as if seeing it in 3D would actually be worth it. And the voice cast is just as strong as the first film, giving solid performances all-around.
The first Despicable Me centered around Gru getting out of the villainy business and learning it’s okay to be a good guy, something that comes about because of three adorable kids he ends up adopting at the end. So Despicable 2 follows right off of that, exploring his parenting and his search for a woman to complete the family. During all of that, Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help them find, well, a villain. And in doing this, they team him up with Lucy. At this point, you can kind of see where this is going to end up. It’s all done well and is sweet for the most part, but certain areas (Gru’s relationship with his three kids and Lucy) are explored enough to make it tug on the heartstrings like the first film did. But what this film does do better is give us more of the Minions, Gru’s weird-looking yellow workers. Instead of being in the background, there front and center this time around and play an integral part in the story. They are funny and provide the best moments (particularly at the end), and it makes sense that they’re getting their own film as they are what everybody loves.
The voice acting in Despicable Me 2 is one of its highlights. Steve Carell shines as Gru, the villain-turned-domesticated-parent, using that deadpan Eastern European accent to somehow bring a likability to the character. And his chemistry with Lucy, voiced wonderfully by Kristen Wiig, is enjoyable to watch, especially since the two characters are big-time contrasts of one another. The three kids are extremely cute, especially Agnes, the youngest who is voiced by Elsie Fisher. Benjamin Bratt is solid as Eduardo, although his character is mostly stereotype. But the real stars of the film are the Minions, voiced by directors Coffin and Renaud. They speak in their only little gibberish language and are just extremely fun to watch.
Heitor Pereira’s score for Despicable 2 isn’t very memorable and really doesn’t add a ton to the film; it’s just kind of there. But Pharrell Williams, who seems to be everywhere right now, brings some original songs to the mix and they are pretty memorable. He not only sings the title track “Despicable Me,” but he also sings “Happy,” which is kind of a dance-happy song that is used perfectly in the film.