The thing that made Despicable Me so charming and delicious was the characterization of the evil villain Gru by Steve Carell. Sure, he used the adoption of three young girls as a means to get inside his villain rival’s home and take over the moon. But, those little cuties warmed his heart and like the Grinch before him, he discovered he had a heart.
Now he’s back in Despicable Me 2, and the animated performance of his that is so delightful has company in greatness.
Kristen Wiig is back in the franchise, but whereas in the first film she played Miss Hattie, the adoption agency worker, this time she is integral to the plot and matches Carell’s brilliance note for note. Wiig is Lucy, a secret agent who is sent to capture Gru and bring him to her organization’s world headquarters to recruit him to help… (as said so brilliantly by Gru in the Despicable Me 2 trailer) save the world.
Immediately Wiig and Carell have animated spark that is electric. Lucy is every bit as excitable as Gru is larger-than-life. More on them in a minute…
Despicable Me 2 simultaneously focuses on how amazing Gru is as a father to the three little girls (led by the stellar Miranda Cosgrove). He even dresses up as a princess for one of their birthday parties! But, he misses the life of being an evil villain. Although he does not want to go back to that way of life, he yearns for something more. His jam and jelly business that operates out of his below ground secret lair is not doing it. Although those Minions (that we love!) would have fun doing anything he asks, it is not doing it for Gru.
When Lucy shows up and offers him a chance to save the world from a mystery madman who is turning good souls into bad ones with one simple shot, he is intrigued. He has a feeling he knows who it is, and when the spy organization asks Lucy and Gru to pair up and go undercover at a local mall (where they think the evildoer is based), our action -- and comedy -- heats up.
The supporting cast raises their game to match Wiig and Carell’s animated awesomeness. Russell Brand is back as Dr. Nefario and Ken Jeong (The Hangover movies) slithers perfectly into the role of Floyd. Particularly joyous is Benjamin Bratt as a mall Mexican restaurant owner who has a suave son who has captured Gru’s oldest daughter’s heart. Watching Carell inhabit Gru, the former greatest villain in the world, and turn his ire on this teenage boy is nothing short of bombastic brilliance.
We found Despicable Me charming and enjoyable, but our Despicable Me 2 review feels the sequel amps up the humor and heart to unforeseen levels of pure joy.
And finally, those Minions take the good will generated by audiences since the first film and manage to steal our hearts anew. They’re asked to do more this time out… and it is all to the benefit of the audience. More Minions are always a good thing. And the teased romance between Lucy and Gru may sound on paper like it would produce an "Ewww," but in fact it is all "Awww."