Comedy, 98 Minutes, 2013
Had some trouble getting into this one. The core story is straightforward but, overall, forgettable. Our reformed hero, Gru, with his three foundlings in tow, is recruited by an anti-villain organization to help them investigate, um, villains.
He sets himself up in an undercover sting operation while trying to balance his still-fresh family responsibilities. While he investigates his pool of suspects he frantically deals with his oldest daughters first crush. Of course, as his suspicions grow so do the complications.
The breakout stars from the first film, Gru’s indentured slave race of little yellow minions, get more screen time. They provide most of the laughs and their scenes are always strong, but the subplot involving them is weak. As predictable as it might have been a movie dedicated to the minions could have been significantly stronger.
This doesn’t pull at the heart strings as openly as the first, but it does have it’s moments. The youngest daughter, especially, seems to exist solely to provide puppy-dog eyes on demand. There’s a romantic subplot that works well enough to earn a pass. It still feels forced but, hey, it’s clear they deserve each other.
The entire affair is, for the greater part, on par with the first film. The voice work is very good and the minion gags, calling back to to classic slapstick, are adorable. The problem is that the actual story is pretty damn dull and the villain really damn dull. It’s a fine family movie… in a market completely glutted with fine family movies.