Naftali Burakovsky, left, and Lorenzo Venneri
DESPICABLE ME 2: Funny, Stupid, and Quite Good
Despicable Me 2, directed by animation heavyweights Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, follows the story of the villain-turned-father Gru (Steve Carell.) Gru’s adventure to defeat a new supervillain and discover love along the way is both hilarious and enjoyable to watch.
Since this is an animated comedy, we can’t look at it as anything more. There is little to criticize, and although Despicable Me 2 is certainly not an excellent addition to the pantheon of cinema, it is an animated comedy that leaves you with a warm feeling inside and a smile on your face, which is all you can really ask for in a film like this
Although definitely a film made for children, Despicable Me 2 is also a perfect family story that all ages are sure to enjoy. Along with the age-neutral humor, there is plenty of adult oriented humor, which makes this film especially brilliant.
One very clever way that this film generates humor is through the little yellow minions, and though they speak gibberish, we can still understand them. Every time they appear on screen, you can be sure laughs are to come shortly.
This film also incorporates some of the best slapstick humor that we have seen in a long time. The film’s humor treads the fine line between funny and idiotic unbelievably well. Let’s face it, half the time, we’re laughing at laughing yellow pills with googly eyes. And we like it.
Apart from the humor, the characters make Despicable Me 2 a fun movie experience. The protagonist, Gru, despite his Russian accent and army of minions, is an easily relatable character. He is sometimes awkward, sometimes awesome, and always struggling with women, all while trying to save the world.
Gru’s spy partner and future love interest (ooh-la-la) Lucy (Kristen Wiig) is over the top, but still proves to be a worthwhile addition. But the characters that stole the show are the little yellow minions, who, though indistinguishable from one another, each bring a unique comedic effect.
Due to the funny and amusing nature of this film, it can be forgiven that the plot has very little nuance. The story, in a nutshell, is nothing more than a well-tuned vehicle for the writer’s humor.
That being said, for an animated comedy, Despicable Me 2 has substantial underlying depth. Gru has to deal with fatherhood while his daughter struggles without a maternal presence, giving this film a very real and sympathetic feeling. Carrying more emotional weight than the more recent live action movies (our problem with Man of Steel), Despicable Me 2 drew us into its story and held our attention throughout the climax and resolution.
Despicable Me 2 has excellent voice acting, great pacing, and well-composed music. While this movie will not go down in history among the ranks of Toy Story and other classic Pixar animations, it certainly pulled off what Monster’s University could not, providing audiences with a thoroughly entertaining and humorous experience.
Throughout the film, we could not help but smile. This is definitely the best animated movie so far this year, and although it isn’t groundbreaking, it’s well worth the 90 minutes. Despicable Me 2 earns its rating of Alpha.
Editor’s note: Lorenzo Venneri is a film student at Rice University. He does his best to give the most unbiased, honorable, and critical evaluation of any film. Naftali Burakovsky is an economics student at UCSD who has had a passion for film from a young age. He loves film, but always gives an honest and critical judgment to preserve the integrity of quintessential movies. Venneri and Burakovsky have been watching films together since they first became friends many years ago. Together, they are committed to letting you know what’s good and bad, what’s worth two hours of your time, and what isn’t. Direct contact: firstname.lastname@example.org