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REVIEW: Just as fun, but half as ‘Despicable’

REVIEW: Just as fun, but half as ‘Despicable’

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Crime | Run Time: 98 min | Rated: PG
Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud | Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong

By: George Wolf

Three years ago Despicable Me scored at the box office, thanks mainly to a funny bunch of yellow creatures who speak nothing but gibberish.

These “minions” made the film, which was fairly average otherwise, easy to like. It should come as no surprise, then, that Despicable Me 2 trots them out early and often.

At the end of part one, evil genius Gru (Steve Carell) wasn’t despicable any longer, his heart inevitably melted by three incredibly cute kids (yes I realize they’re animated but they remind me of my nieces so whatsittoya?)

This time out, Gru is recruited by special agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) to help the good guys, in hopes that his bad guy instincts will help ferret out a villain in hiding.

Everybody – writers, directors, most of the cast – returns from the original, but an important piece is missing. Being despicable is what made Gru a character, and taking that trait away also discards much of what makes him interesting. The love story with Lucy isn’t developed enough to fill the gap, so it’s up to the little Twinkie-looking things!

For the most part, they come through. Much like the Madagascar series continues to be hilariously saved by the supporting lemur and penguin characters, Gru’s minions are able to provide the laughs when things start to drag. Without them, kids would be squirming and parents might be thinking of an early exit.

The sum of unequal parts, DM2 is perfectly pleasant, if unexceptional, family fare.

Verdict 3 Stars

Read more reviews by George Wolf.

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FILE- This is a 1967 handout image from Parlophone of The British group, The Beatles,. From left, are: Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney; and George Harrison. The woman who as a child was the basis for the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is gravely ill. It was thought by many at the time that the psychedelic song from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band was a paean to LSD because of the initials in the title, but it was actually based on a drawing that John Lennon's young son Julian brought home from school. He told his father the drawing was of Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Lucy Vodden, now living in Surrey just outside of London _ drifted apart after schoolyard days, but they have gotten back in touch as Lennon has tried to help Vodden cope with Lupus, a life-threatening disease.

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