Despicable Me 2 is far from a faith-based animated toon, but this comedy features wholesome and positive messages about the goodness of adoption, parenting, marriage and being a family.
When Despicable Me hit the screens in 2010, it became an instant hit--grossing more than $540 millionand leaping into the top 10 grossing animated toons of all time. So when Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment came up with a sequel, who would have guessed that they could improve on the original?
In Despicable Me 2, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is now a reformed, happy, doting father, contributing to society, forsaking the evil mastermind business. Add three of the most adorable little girls--Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher), mix in even more mischievous Minions, more inventions from Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), a secret agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) and the sequel comes close to successfully topping the original.
Just as Gru has given up being super-bad to be a super-dad, the Anti-Villain League recruits him to track down a new criminal mastermind El Macho (Benjamin Bratt) and save the world. Partnered with Lucy, Gru must figure out how to keep his cover, while also keeping up with his duties as a father.
After Despicable Me 2 grossed more than $918 million at the worldwide box office, bringing the franchise’s cumulative worldwide box office to nearly $1.5 billion, the in-home release features three new "mini movies" (Puppy, Panic in the Mailroom and Training Wheels), and the back story on El Macho called El Hombre Macho: The Villainy of El Macho.
Content Watch: Just like its predecessor, Despicable Me 2 is rated PG for rude humor and mild action. There is some slight potty humor and fart gags, and some minions are shown as androgynous cross-dressing jokesters with naked backsides. The family friendly animated film is very funny, but it could have used less potty humor. In terms of violence, the mutation-spawning PX41 serum turns people and creatures into ferocious monsters, which could be scary for kids 5 and under. The minions also turn purple and snarl, barking threateningly. A human is transformed into an enormous and extremely dangerous-looking monster with wild hair and huge teeth. Other scenes of violence have a strong element of slapstick, such as when the hero is struck by a car. He is not injured, and the scene is very much played for comic effect.
Alan Mowbray is a husband, father of two children and technical writer for an Orlando, Fla., area software company. Click here for his blog.