Sequels always bring mixed reactions from movie-lovers, ranging from disgust and disbelief to sheer excitement. When Universal Studios announced “Despicable Me 2,” fans rejoiced at the thought of more adventures with Gru (Steve Carell), his daughters, and of course his loveable minions. While the sequel to Universal’s 2010 animated blockbuster offers new adventures and fresh laughs, a silly plot costs it much of the ingenuity that made the original such a huge success.
In this sequel, Gru decides to give up the supervillain life and instead focus on raising his adopted daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher). That is, until a powerful mutation serum is stolen from a top-secret research lab. The Anti-Villain League recruits Gru to work undercover with Agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) to retrieve the serum before it ends up in the wrong hands, spelling doom for the planet.
Granted, it’s not quite as diabolically inventive as stealing the moon, but as far as sequels go, “Despicable Me 2” could have been, well, a lot more despicable. The new characters are entertaining, particularly the energetic Lucy, whose enthusiasm makes for a great match with the perpetually cautious Gru. Agnes is still adorable and still in love with fluffy unicorns. But writers Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul (who also wrote the first film) added romantic subplots for both Gru and Margo that feel forced and unnecessary. That, combined with juvenile, crude humor and overused sight gags, makes Daurio and Paul’s second script markedly inferior to their first.
However, the minions prove once again to be the franchise’s biggest asset, providing by far the most laughs. Whether they’re working in Gru’s lab, fighting with each other for no apparent reason, or singing in the language that only they understand, these quirky little creatures bring in the most fans and have helped make “Despicable Me 2” a huge box office hit. And their hard work is most definitely appreciated; Universal is giving them their own original movie, “Minions,” in 2014.
The minions may steal the show here, but all in all, the delightful cast and entertaining story make “Despicable Me 2” a fun film for the whole family.
*** out of five