DESPICABLE ME 2
**1/2 (out of 5)
July 3, 2013
Steve Carell as GRU
Kristen Wiig as LUCY
Benjamin Bratt as EDUARDO
Miranda Cosgrove as MARGO
Russell Brand as DR. NEFARIO
Ken Jeong as FLOYD
Steve Coogan as SILAS
Elsie Fisher as AGNES
Dana Gaier as EDITH
Directed by: Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Sometimes, I can be such a freaking hipster. I really hate that.
That doesn’t mean I run around wearing skinny jeans, scarves and dark-rimmed spectacles. Trust me, no one wants to see me in skinny jeans, I’m a perpetual sweater (so scarves worn ironically would be the death of me), and my dad wore the dark-rimmed specs when he was younger (before they became cool), and I’m never going to settle on my father’s grad school look.
Instead, I’m talking about the times when I have to remind myself and the world that I liked certain actors before it became cool to like certain actors. I was a huge fan of Peter Dinklage long before “Game of Thrones,” and in relation to “Despicable Me 2,” I really kind of dug Kristen Wiig before she became the next “it girl” of comedy.
Now, she’s simply overexposed, and her quirky delivery in smaller supporting performances (like in “Knocked Up,” “MacGruber” and even “Extract”) seems to be lost. Wiig has become tiresome, the way Jude Law was tiresome in 2004 or her co-star Steve Carell is going to be in a year or two.
Not to put her in the crosshairs or anything, but Kristen Wiig (or, more specifically, her character of Lucy in “Despicable Me 2”) is the source of all the problems in the film. And it’s not just because I feel like I’m going to run out and kick a puppy the next time I hear her voice wail, “Lipstick taser!”
I’m not blaming Wiig. To be sure, she’s carrying the brunt of the problem because her character is involved in all the problematic story elements of “Despicable Me 2.” But before I finish unloading on Wiig and her character of Lucy, let’s get a few things out in the open.
Before the first “Despicable Me” came out in 2010, I thought it was going to be terrible. The trailers looked bizarre, and I had no sense of story from it. However, when I saw the film, I fell completely in love with it. Everything fit together to balance an awesome animated film about over-the-top villains and gadgets with a charming and heartfelt story of a man finding someone to give his life meaning.
In fact, “Despicable Me” wrapped itself up so nicely, it doomed its own sequel.
In the new film, Gru is learning to be a new parent, and he still loves the three girls he adopted. However, one day, he is approached by Lucy of the Anti-Villain league to track down and defeat a new villain bent on taking over the world. In addition to this story, we have Gru wondering if Lucy would make a good mother for his girls, while his oldest is discovering boys on her own.
You see? The story is kind of a mess. And this is because all the great characters from the first film just don’t have a place in the overall plot. So this bizarre, cliched subplot of Margot finding boys and Lucy becoming a love interest for Gru is shoe-horned into the piece.
In many ways, “Despicable Me 2” plays a lot like an “Ice Age” or “Madagascar” sequel. It’s got some adorable cute characters (the ever-loveable Minions) to break up the film with some silly antics. However, there’s just too many characters, which were essential to the original movie but irrelevant here. Does Diego ever have a decent story in an “Ice Age” sequel? No, he’s always just along for the ride. Does Melman the Giraffe in the “Madagascar” sequels deserve the screen time he gets? Not at all, but you can’t leave David Schwimmer out in the cold.
Like Scrat from “Ice Age” and the Penguins from “Madagascar,” the Minions in “Despicable Me 2” make it bearable to watch, but Gru is bounced around from decent storyline to not-so-decent side story that the film has a schizophrenic nature to it.
Maybe I was just expecting too much from this movie, and the opposite effect happened than what did with the original. I imagine I’ll watch this again on home video and enjoy it a lot more because my expectations have been severely lowered. Until then, consider me disappointed.