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Despicable Me 2 (3D)


Stars: Voices: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier, Moises Arias

Director: Chris Renaud, Paul Coffin

Despicable Me 2 would appear to have beaten one of Hollywood’s most prevalent demons – The Curse of the Sequel.

Which is no mean feat when you consider the legions of celluloid sequels so bad that to call them turkeys would be to overpraise them.

Screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio and directors Chris Renaud and Paul Coffin have cleverly revamped villainous Dr Gru and amusingly transformed him into a semi-standard suburban dad after adopting three little daughters, given to appearing in costume as a hideous fairy at a kids’ party. Fortunately for his target audience (“The best ever!” says Izzy who is almost 7) Gru leaves his Minion-staffed jam and jelly factory and, recruited by the top-secret Anti-Villain League and reunited with Lucy Wilde, he blasts into comic action against the Bad Guys who have sucked up a polar research station into the sky with a giant electro-magnet…

Easy-to-enjoy jokes come thick and fast as Gru and Lucy carry out “All the ‘Mission Impossible’ stuff”, while their Mexican villain opponent (splendidly voiced by Benjamin Bratt) does his best to win and, naturally fails.

The key vocal casting is spot on. Steve Carrell is suitably cheerful and/or creepy reprising his turn as Dr Gru, Kristen Wiig speaks well for Lucy and, far better heard than seen (ditto Russell Brand's Dr Nefario), Steve Coogan sneers nicely in a posh English voice as the Anti-Villain League boss Silas Ramsbottom, the butt of my favourite joke when his name is translated for the benefit of American audiences as “sheep’s butt!”

All in all, not purgatory for accompanying adults and terrific fun for kids.

Animation is top class (and don’t leave before the credits end or you’ll miss the Minions having a comic ball after the narrative action).

While, as with all sequels, there is a certain familiarity on and off, that said, Despicable Me 2 hits all the right comic targets and comes up with some splendid new ones.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
98 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 27 Jun 2013