Wed July 10, 2013
Despicable Me 2
Despicable Me 2 Grade: B
Directors: Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me), Chris Renaud (The Lorax)
Screenplay: Ken Daurio (The Lorax), Cinco Paul (Horton Hears a Who)
Cast: Voices of Steve Carell (Despicable Me), Kristen Wiig (Despicable Me)
Rating: PG Runtime: 98 min.
by John DeSando
“But the real gift of this little animation gem is homely Gru, the world's best villain but financially least productive. His plan to steal the moon is about the cleverest comment on how much we have stolen, innocence among the treasures; the moon is all we have left to lose. But there is also something else to be stolen—Gru's heart—and that's easily filched by Agnes, Margo, and Edith, orphans selling the equivalent of girl scout cookies but sub textually a heart for a villain who doesn't know yet it's a loving parent's.”
Those were my words 3 years ago about Despicable Me, and I stand by them for this year’s Despicable Me 2 with one change: Gru’s (voice of Steve Carell) heart is to be stolen again, this time by the Anti-Villain League’s techno titan, big-nosed Lucy. Having proved herself a formidable agent, she joins Gru’s new mission to stop super villain, El Macho (Benjamin Bratt), before his diabolical, out-sized magnet sucks up the entire earth.
There’s a reason this animation is knocking off the Lone-Ranger’s ten-gallon hat this summer: Despicable is loveable: a genuine heart beats in all its characters, from cute-as-hell near-sighted, yellow Minions to the new villain, whose Latino heart beats strong, if for the wrong reasons. Somehow the slightly fey Ranger and the ambiguous Indian cannot capture the same romance. Gru is the unlikely hero once again, a model of rehabilitation who could prepare the younger generation for the myriad comebacks such as Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, and Anthony Weiner: Gru: Yes, I have been recruited by a top secret agency to go undercover and save the world. Edith: You're gonna be a spy? Gru: *That's* right, baby! Gru's back in the game with gadgets and weapons and cool cars!
His date with a big-lipped valley girl is disastrous enough to make any single male move into a monastery. That’s the kind of humanity until recently Pixar mostly owned. Americans love comeback kids, e.g., Bill Clinton; no place better to be prepared for those changes of heart than Universal’s challenge to Pixar’s barn full of humanity, the Despicables.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com