Despicable Me 2 - Minions don't grow older

 “Despicable Me 2.”  sequel to the 2010 Despicable Me first invaded theaters and promptly crushed Disney’s big budget, Johnny Depp-dominated “The Lone Ranger” to smithereens at the box office. And why not? Families and kids alike loved the original “Despicable.” So why not return for the follow-up for more of the same?

Actually, “Despicable Me 2” is not nearly as inventive as the original film. It’s flattened out somewhat by a contrived and not-very-convincing love story which has our lovelorn and not-quite-super-villainous hero Gru flip out over the inexperienced spy Lucy Wilde who’s been sent to retrieve him for an assignment from her employer, the super-secret Anti-Villain League (AVL). 

The budding love interest that weaves through this film is probably the weakest element in a relatively conventional plot that has a rival super-villain, El Macho scheming to conquer the world. That’s an ambition that has become relatively standard these days in the hyperactive world of super-villainy.

“Despicable 2” has a much softer tone than the original, mainly because the three young girls Gru adopted in the earlier film have turned him into a more cuddly daddy version of his former self.

At any rate, so as far as the comedic element of this film is concerned, it’s up to Gru’s legion of Minions—those wacky, yellow, bespectacled, ADD-afflicted, fireplug-like little creatures—to keep this film going.

Fortunately, for both the film and “Despicable’s” avid fans, the Minions don’t disappoint. The morning we attended the film, the theater tended to be mostly quiet and respectful until the Minions started up with their ridiculous antics.

You will definitely appreciate the Minions’ fondness for snarky flatulence jokes and weapons as well as their wondrous mimicking of Euro-style ambulance sirens: BEE-doh, BEE-doh, BEE-doh…
Ultimately, it’s silly nonsense like this that the really love, though, so it’s likely that the Minions, and not this film’s fairly lame plot, will drive ticket sales in coming weeks.

That said, although “Despicable Me 2” is not quite as squeaky-clean as Disney-Pixar’s  recent, successful “Monsters University,” it shares with the latter animated feature the sheer joy of silliness, adult juvenile behavior, and the occasional scary moment leavened by a cautious yet genuine endorsement of traditional family values. That’s the formula that keeps old-time family entertainments like these ahead of many a big-budget blockbuster that ultimately fails to catch on at the box office.

Meanwhile, surprise! The producers are already at work on another sequel that stars the Minions themselves. It’s due out for a Thanksgiving/Christmas 2014 release.

BEE-doh, BEE-doh, BEE-doh, BEE-doh….

Rating: 9/10

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