“It’s so funny I’m gonna die!” were the words I swear I heard coming out of my wife’s mouth when we were leaving the theater after seeing Despicable Me 2, the sequel to one of our favorite computer animated comedies of all time. Okay, so maybe my wife didn’t say those exact words, but she should have because that would have been really clever and a good start to my blog, so I am going to say she did anyway.
Which brings me to confession time:
So, when going to the movies with my lovely wife I would love to say that we go see some new crazy comedy, or the latest action/romantic flick, or a serious oscar drama. I would love to say that, but I would be lying. The truth is that, 9 out of 10 times, if we are going to go see a movie in the theaters, it is probably going to be a computer animated kids movie. For example, we took some time out of luxurious honeymoon in a small town in Colorado to take three buses to get to the nearest theater so that we could see the incredible conclusion to the saga we had been waiting for: Toy Story 3. It was awesome. End of confession…
Wiig’s Lucy is a great complement to Carrell’s Gru.
So yes, we saw Despicable Me 2, and I am happy to report that it is… hilarious! Seriously though, this one doesn’t disappoint. From the very beginning, it is made apparent that directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud have not forgotten that dark and fluffy comedy that made the first film so uniquely engaging. An example super early in the film is when Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) dresses up like the fairy godmother as the kids play in an obstacle course filled with deadly traps. It is scenes like this, where Gru’s villainous personality is mixed with the fluffy childishness of his three adopted girls that stand out above the ever-increasing range of computer animated features coming out now. I was really happy to see that the three girls maintained their prominence in the sequel (especially Agnes, the youngest who has a strange obsession with unicorns). Without the girls much of the charm would be lost, and indeed, some of my least favorite scenes were when Gru was off on his own without the little rascals. That said, the addition of Agent Lucy Wilde (voiced by Kristen Wiig) certainly contributed to the zany antics of Gru and his girls. Wiig brings her characteristic charm and quirkiness to the role, and she is a solid, if a little predictable, complement to Carrell’s Gru. If I had one critique of Lucy Wilde it is that she falls into a few female stereotypes that a smart film like Despicable Me with its plethora of unique plot devices like adoption, diversity, and trademark dark humor doesn’t need. Keep up the creative plotting people!
Looks like Gru’s in with the good guys now…
Speaking of plot, Despicable Me 2‘s is exciting and fun, if slightly predictable. The film opens with another heist scene, similar to the first film, which is fun but more of the same. The show really starts when the camera shifts to Gru’s home, wherein he is hosting a birthday party for Agnes (as mentioned above) apparently having embraced his role as a father after the events of the first movie. After the guffah-inducing events of the party, Gru gets “recruited” by Agend Wilde to be a member of the “Anti-Villain League.” These events were basically shown in the many theatrical trailers, but I have to say I really appreciated that, after that short sequence, the rest of the film was never shown in the previews (which my wife and I had watched multiple times of course). What follows is a pretty standard “who-done-it” plot with Gru and Wilde trying to uncover the mastermind who pulled off the heist at the film’s introduction. There are various plot twists and some fun new characters (there is a pet chicken at one point that practically steals the show) but it is all rather predictable. That was okay for me though; I don’t go to these films to be blown away by new plot devices, I go to laugh and soak up the silly absurdity of Gru, his girls and his minions. Speaking of the minions, it is clear these clowns are a big hit because they get a lot of screen time for their various completely absurd hijinks. While most of their comedy is mostly slapstick, which is certainly funny, some of it is completely over the top and hilarious, especially for those old enough to catch some of the references back to the 90s, classic sci-fi films and even a few boy-bands that shall remain nameless. Seriously, the minions at the end of the film had all of us in the audience over twelve (there admittedly wasn’t many) laughing our butts off. That ending is absolutely comic genius.
Minions play an even larger role, which usually ends in more hilarity.
Before writing this piece I asked my wife what her favorite movie of the summer was, and after deliberating for a little bit, she said that above Pixar’s Monster’s University, Despicable Me 2 was her absolutely favorite. As for me, while I certainly could find a few areas to nit-pic, like the conventional plot and treatment of Lucy Wilde, this was a sequel that certainly doesn’t disappoint. If you were a fan of the original Despicable Me, or even if you are just a person who likes computer animated comedies and lived through the 90s, then I think you would agree with me when I give Despicable Me 2 Must Watch.
What did you think? Did you like Despicable Me and its dark and fluffy comedy, or were you not a fan? Should I be embarrassed for my wife and I’s shared love of computer animated movies? Let me know what you think and I will definitely respond to your comments!