RogerBW's Blog

Despicable Me 2 23 December 2015

2013, dir. Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud; IMDb / allmovie

The former supervillain Gru is trying to be a good father. But supervillainous schemes are still afoot.

Oh well. Despicable Me wasn't a film that extended an existing franchise, but this one most definitely is, and feels like it. Nothing challenging, nothing demanding, all the chrome from the first film and none of the heart.

The first problem is that there isn't enough supervillainy. This film is a hymn of praise to conformity: Gru must have a wife, not because of any lack in his life with the three girls he adopted, but because normal families have a mummy as well as a daddy. When the oldest girl shows interest in a Boy, does Gru solve it by being true to himself, i.e. a supervillain with a heart? No: he becomes Clich├ęd Movie Dad, completely panicked at the very idea that his daughter might have anything in her life not put there by him. Women last time were, well, mostly villains, but basically normal people; now they're for rescuing and marrying, or for running away from romantic encounters with.

Bodily function jokes? Yeah, obviously we needed lots more of those. Dressing up in drag as a source of comedy? Repeatedly. Ethnic stereotypes? Hey, Ken Jeong's in the cast, that means it's not racist, right? Tasering as a source of harmless fun? Sure, sure, throw it all in. Even the distinctive personalities of the three girls are basically now reduced to a few sight gags. Casual continuity errors (disappearing tripwires and tattoos) abound.

Really, this is only saved by the Minions, and they gradually disappear as things go on. There are some decent moments, and this isn't a complete waste of time, but it's a gust of stale air compared with the slightly fresh breeze of the original.

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