News Column

'Despicable Me 2' delivers minion gold, but otherwise flat

July 15, 2013


July 15--PAULS VALLEY, Oklahoma -- Film trailers have without a doubt been instrumental in building up some of the best momentum for box office dollars in the past few decades, but there seems to be a struggle to either reveal too much or miss the point entirely of getting fans in a frenzy. I tip my hat to those who can find a decent balance like Christopher Nolan's escapades or even Shane Black's secretive touch for "Iron Man 3," yet if what you're hiding until show time doesn't pack much punch in the first place, it's a gamble to hope the rest of the elements satiate the audience appetite.

Today's title falls into this description not because it fell short as a whole, actually providing plenty of chuckles along the way as it should, but perhaps because of too much of attempt to capitalize on what made the first movie such a hit left little time to focus on other equally important aspects. It's a problem some movies encounter when the magic can't quite be recaptured (Much like Scrat being the only thing worth checking out in "Ice Age" flicks now) and as result kind of makes what could have been excellent, average. "Despicable Me 2" isn't necessarily something to be ashamed of, but it misses the mark on being something the whole family could get excited about.

Continuing the story of a former villain gone good named Gru (Steve Carell), the story finds him more or less content to not take over the world and instead raise the girls that softened his black heart, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (Elsie Fisher) and Edith (Dana Gaier). However, when a new mystery villain shows up on the scene and steals an unstable mutagenic formula from a lab in the arctic, the Anti-Villain League and their top agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) see Gru as their only hope in solving the alarming crime.

Gru is reluctant to jump into the fray at first, but when a series of setbacks like his plan to make homemade jellies fails and his former sidekick Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) leaves, he decides it won't hurt to give it a try. Unfortunately, this is about when the movie stops being fresh and almost entirely focuses on the minions (who are pretty cool) and almost rushes some sort of effort to make the villain relevant. By that I mean the character starts out being something potentially awesome from description alone and turns out to be no more menacing than a certain chubby character at a global golden arches restaurant.

All of this aside, I still had fun watching it and guarantee those of the very young target audience will have no problem making it their favorite. If I were eight years old it would be the best thing in the world, but even as an adult addicted to cartoons, it's not as fulfilling as it could have been.

I'll likely not be adding this one to the must own pile and for those wishing for a bit more instead make a recommendation for the other movie released that same day, "The Lone Ranger." I'll also not likely be that motivated to see just the "Minions" movie in theaters next year as I rather prefer Steve Carell's Gru as a main personality. When the credits finally roll "Despicable Me 2" earns two and a half out of five maniacal cackles.

Movie viewing courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.


(c)2013 the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat (Pauls Valley, Okla.)

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