Despicable Me 2 movie review; Voiceovers: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong, Steve Coogan, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher; Director: Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin; Rating: **
In a very formulaic manner, the film begins with a Top Research Laboratory in the Arctic Circle being magnetically uprooted and hijacked, laying the foundation for a 'who dunnit' mystery?
The delight of "Despicable Me" was in its wicked premise where the evil plans of the bald-super villain Gru is diverted when he has to adopt three orphan girls, and finds himself ultimately tamed and charmed by them. This was indeed appealing as it also had a wicked edge to it.
Though "Despicable Me 2" takes off almost exactly from where Despicable Me left in 2010, the attraction of the earlier film seems to have disappeared.
Gru now leads a domesticated life. He has converted his den into a jelly-making factory and is happy taking care of the three young girls - The teenager - Margo (Miranda Cosgrove); the naughty tomboy - Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), the youngest.
While everything is hunky dory, the young girls are keen that Gru finds a life partner.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Villain League, headed by Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan), is trying to find the super-villain who has hijacked the secret laboratory. He approaches Gru, the reformed villain for help and assigns Agent Lucy Wilde (Kristin Wiig) to assist him.
Gru and Lucy, together go undercover as cupcake shop owners to a Mall where they screen every suspect including the Mexican restauranter. Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt) and the owner of the wig store Floyd, (Ken Jeong).
After the bizarre plots and visual gags of "Despicable Me", going undercover at the mall is a pretty let down. And, more seriously, Gru as hero is just not as interesting as Gru the villain. It is nice to see him caring for his little children and romancing Lucy. But it would have been interesting to see an inkling of the old Gru sneaking through, perhaps momentarily swayed by the idea of rejoining the dark side.
Directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin deserve credit for not repeating the basic ideas of their first effort, but they fail to expand exclusive creation.
The only characters developed here are the yellow miniature creatures known as the Minions, whose irreverent outbursts divert the story several times. The antics of the Minions are enough to keep kids and adults involved.
There are freeze rays and stun guns, falls and crashes, PX41serum that is developed in the research laboratory that can turn the yellow minions into lavender mutants with jagged toothed jaws and jelly-firing guns that dish out the antidote for the PX41 serum.
The voice projected by the stars effortlessly slip into the characters' vocal chords.
In actuality, "Despicable Me 2" has plenty of good, antiquated cartoon mayhem with a number of sub-plots that weave in and out of the main narrative, but don't particularly go anywhere, including Margo having a crush on Eduardo's teenage son, and Gru's weapons technician Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) leaving his organization because they simply aren't evil enough anymore, the narration occasionally gets tiresome leaving the audience fatigued. And the 3D effects only add to the agony.
There is nothing despicable in "Despicable Me 2", which makes it less adorable and of course less appealing.