Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig
Director: Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
Just as enjoyable, if not more than the earlier film, 'Despicable Me 2' sees reformed super-villain Gru (Steve Carell) adjusting nicely to fatherhood and domesticity after adopting three adorable orphan girls in the last film. Having given up his crooked ways, he's working towards setting up a jam-and-jellies business, when he's reluctantly persuaded by the Anti-Villain League to team up with goofy secret agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig). Together they must vanquish a new bad guy, El Macho (Benjamin Bratt), who's in possession of a serum that can transform all living beings into indestructible purple monsters.
Alternately funny and heartfelt, the new film nicely juggles themes of family and companionship with a never-ending stream of gags mostly involving Gru's loyal helpers, those yellow gibberish-speaking, goggle-eyed Minions who're crucial to the plot this time around.
There's nothing wildly original here in terms of set ups or plot points, but Carell and Wiig have a winning chemistry, and the Minions - like the penguins in the 'Madagascar' movies, and Scrat in the 'Ice Age' films - steal the film from right under the nose of its protagonists. Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud unapologetically let the gags take precedence over the perfunctory plot, and package all of it in decently done 3D.
I'm going with three-and-a-half out of five for 'Despicable Me 2'. Wait for the end credits, there's a hilarious little sequence that tells us a spin-off movie starring the Minions is on its way.
Himanshu Deswal, Delhi
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