Wednesday, 03 July 2013

Despicable Me 2 — Funny and Family-friendly

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The highly anticipated sequel to Despicable Me hit theaters on July 3, treating audiences to another hilarious and family-friendly film. Ripe with the same loveable characters from the original, Despicable Me 2 proves to be a wonderful film for the family.

In the first Despicable Me, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) discovers that he is not actually the evil mastermind he had trained himself to be. It took the help of three precious little girls — Margo, Edith, and Agnes — whom he later adopts, to learn that lesson.

And by the second film, we see that Gru is becoming well-adjusted to his new life. He has become acquainted with typical parental duties, such as monitoring school projects and telling bedtime stories. With the help of his adorable yellow minions, he managed to transform his factory, where he once concocted diabolical devices such as the one that helped him to steal the moon, into one that produces jams and jellies, and even kept on his Mad Scientist to serve as the company taste-tester (a far cry from the man who once invented the “fart gun”).

But just when Gru believes his reformation is complete, he is enlisted by the Anti-Villain League to track down an evil felon who is bent on getting his hands on a serum that would turn innocent creatures into horrifying monsters.

His lovely daughters seem fond of the idea of their father being a secret superhero, and are particularly excited at the notion of breaking out some of his old gadgets, this time to stop evil instead of causing it. And they really like the idea of their father working with the overzealous Lucy Wilde (voice of Kristen Wig), a woman who seems to have an effect on Gru.

For Gru, changing from an evil villain into a good father was already a difficult adjustment. Can he really go from committing crimes to fighting crime?

Despicable Me 2 has all the positive elements found within the first film. Gru is a reformed man, and it is all because of the unconditional love his adopted daughters give to him, and in return, he offers the same. He is a good father who is even a tad overprotective, in the way that all good parents are. He is not too proud to do whatever it takes to make his daughters smile and laugh. Despicable Me 2 presents positive messages about family, adoption, marriage, and parenthood.

Likewise, the film features a great deal of kid-friendly comedy without being too crude. Instead, it is rather slapstick and ultimately underscores just how clumsy Gru and his minions could be, which likely explains why he was not much of a successful villain in the first place. Much of the humor comes from the minions and their antics.

A sequel to Despicable Me was an ambitious effort, as it appeared as if there was nowhere to go after the first film. Gru had already made the important and happy transition from evil to good, and some feared that a sequel would witness a regression. Fortunately, the writers took a good man and turned him into an even better man. Gru is an excellent choice as a secret anti-villain agent since he has all the insider knowledge of that world, but it is clear at times he is uncomfortable in the role as hero, adding to the film’s comedy. And all the while, he continues to work on being the best father he can be and encourages family love at every juncture. What results is a real treat.

Despicable Me 2 is action-packed without being overly violent, and comical without being offensive. It advances a message about standing up for what is right and fighting for the truth.

It is comical watching Gru and his minions making silly mistakes in their efforts to do the right thing. But more than that, it is heart-warming.

It is definitely a film I would recommend for families and children of all ages.


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