Despicable Me 2 is like cotton candy. Give it to your kids once or twice, but DO NOT buy it and keep it readily available at home. See it at the theater if you must (or better yet, rent it), but DO NOT BUY THIS MOVIE!
DM2 focuses on reformed villain Gru (Steve Carell). Defanged by love, Gru spends most of his time looking after his three plucky, adopted daughters. Gru is content, but bored. So he becomes an undercover agent for the Anti-Villain League. His mission – – not that it matters – – is to figure out who has stolen a serum that can transform bunny rabbits into ruthless, indestructible killers. Gru and his agent-partner, zany, warm Lucy (Kristen Wiig), set out to find the serum. Along the way, Gru crosses paths with a salsa-dancing, Mexican restaurateur (Benjamin Bratt), reacts badly to his eldest daughter’s suitor, and falls in love for the first time.
Gru’s minions steal this movie. Whenever the story slows – – and it does, A LOT – – the minions leap in to do some irrelevant, amusing shtick. But this shtick comes at a price. We pinball from minions to MAIN PLOT to side-plot so quickly that it is impossible to care what happens. When the big villain finally reveals himself, it comes across as a giant SO WHAT. Thanks to the minions, watching this movie is like listening to an aimless monologue where – – every time you ask a question – – someone stuffs a marshmallow in your mouth (“chew on THAT, suckas!”).
Okay, so any nightmare fodder? Any bad words? No, parents. This movie is almost offensively inoffensive. The ideas in it have been so puréed with treacle that you won’t have to worry about your kids choking on a thing. And sometimes, that’s a relief. But ONLY sometimes.
P.S. Okay, folks, I lied. There is ONE slightly offensive thing in this movie: the way it treats parents. Gru is a “cool dad” because he dotes on his girls and gives them lavish birthday parties. But he has no AUTHORITY over them. When little, preteen Margo goes off dancing with a boy, the audience is supposed to think it’s “cute” that Gru gets protective. Margo brushes Gru off and rejects his right to dissuade – – or EVEN VAGUELY MONITOR – – this courtship. The notion that Gru would have ANY say in his little girl’s love life is treated as “aw-shucks” ridiculous. I’m no paragon of purity, but the idea that a parent SHOULD be that powerless, that irrelevant, to his very young kids’ decisions annoyed the hell out of me. Of course, I might just be bitter because I’ve got one daughter in prison while the other heads a biker gang.