Fans of the cute and comedic little yellow Minions of “Despicable Me” will be thrilled by their return in its sequel out today, “Despicable Me 2.” But those in search of another heartwarming story featuring an unexpected dad and three likable young girls will need to look elsewhere, as this silly sequel focuses primarily on cheap laughs and over-the-top animated action leaving character development and a decent story behind.
With “Despicable Me 2,” it’s all about the Minions, so much so that the little yellow guys really should have been given a movie of their own. They steal each scene they are in, despite not even speaking any particular understandable language. Dressed in funny costumes, making snide remarks, and generally bouncing around almost every scene, the Minions upstage every other character from the opening moments to the hilarious music-infused finale.
And then there’s Steve Carrell, returning as Gru, this time without much of a mission. He’s no longer a super villain, instead settled in as a dad of three. But the kids who played such vital roles in the touching success story of the original film are reduced to less than secondary characters in “Despicable Me 2,” one barely even appearing in the film.
The sequel introduces Lucy Wilde, voiced by Kristen Wiig, an agent for the Anti-Villain League enlisting Gru’s help to find and defeat some bad guys. The details of that are at the crux of the story, but ultimately none of them are particularly important, instead acting an excuse for gag after gag, many of which are entirely immature, bringing big laughs along the way. But a connection between the characters and the audience is never felt. It’s all very lighthearted and lacking the warmth that made the original more than just a “cartoon.”
Ultimately “Despicable Me 2” is almost guaranteed to achieve huge box office success, up against Disney’s less-than-family-friendly The Lone Ranger, opening across the same holiday week. And those seeing the new movie at Universal CityWalk in Orlando can add to the not-so-despicable experience by visiting Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem at nearby Universal Studios Florida. But no matter where the movie is seen, those expecting nothing but laughs will be rewarded by plenty of movie theater mayhem from those adorable Minions.
“Despicable Me 2” opens today in theaters nationwide.