9 Things Parents Should Know About Despicable Me 2

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One of the many fun quick sight gags in the film. Image: Universal Pictures.
One of the many fun quick sight gags in the film. Image: Universal Pictures.

The following is free of spoilers. Any specifics about the movie that are mentioned are either explicitly shown in trailers, heavily implied by them, or are incidental to the plot.

1. Will my kids like it?

Yes: It’s hard to imagine how any child old enough to comprehend what’s going on in the movie would be anything but highly entertained by it. It has more slapstick humor even than the first film did, more minion-related jokes, and the girls have more to do with the action. Also, it must be said, there seems to have been more influence from the marketing department, with many elements and scenes that seem more than a bit calculated for merchandising potential — which of course rarely fail to entertain children, because that’s what they’re meant to do.

2. Will I like it?

Yes, though if you loved the first one you probably won’t like this one as much. Speaking as one who liked, but wasn’t overwhelmed, by the original, I liked the new film better. I thought that the first one relied too much on Gru for its humor, and that the character of Gru relied too much on his accent. The second film uses the minions to better effect, and gives the girls more to do in the adventure-movie parts, which of course adds to the fun. Also, be sure to keep an ear out for the minions singing “Another Irish Drinking Song” from Da Vinci’s Notebook, written by Paul Sabourin and Greg DiCostanzo, now better known as Paul and Storm. I love it when geeky music hits the bigtime (even if the song itself is not particularly geeky)!

3. When’s the best time for a bathroom break?

There’s no really good time, and the movie’s only 89 minutes long, so going just beforehand and trying to hold on till the end is ideal if feasible. If not, the part where Gru follows the guy he suspects of being the new villain he’s looking for to see if he’s right is probably the best time — when you get back, it’ll be pretty easy to figure out what you missed.

DM2_Tsr14. Is it worth paying more for 3D?

I’d say yes. As in the original, 3D is used to some gimmicky effect, but only for its humor value. Since there’s really not much point in seeing Despicable Me 2 other than the humor, why not experience the humor as it was meant to be experienced?

5. You said the humor was really the only reason to see the film. Is the story that bad?

No, it’s not bad — just predictable. If you’re at all like me, every time you think “Oh, I bet this is what’s going to happen with this situation,” you will turn out to be right. Based only on the few clips I’d seen, honestly, I could probably have given you a 90%-accurate outline of the story before I saw the film. So if you’re looking for a film with hidden depth and plot twists, you’ll want to look elsewhere. But the humor is definitely reason enough to see it if you’re willing to overlook the plot’s shortcomings.

6. Do I need to sit through the credits for a bonus scene at the end?

The first part of the end credits has three minions “trying out” for spots in the Minions movie spinoff/prequel (scheduled for release late next year), and is pretty entertaining (and heavy on the 3D). Once their part is over, though, there’s nothing more to see but credits.

7. Will my kids want to see it again?

If they’re like mine, yes. I have a 10-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son, putting them in the perfect age range to enjoy slapstick comedy more than pretty much anything else, and they were talking on the way out of the theater about how we “have to buy” the film on Blu-ray when it comes out.

Lucy explains something to Gru. Image: Universal Pictures.
Lucy explains something to Gru. Image: Universal Pictures.

8. Will I want to see it again?

Probably you won’t mind seeing it again, but also won’t be anxious to do so — except possibly for the joy you’ll get watching your kids bust a gut laughing at fart guns and minions making siren noises, and the like. That being said, there is a wonderful minion parody of All 4 One’s music video for “I Swear” that will have you laughing (if you’re like me) hard enough your kids will look at you like you’re crazy, because of course they’re too young to get the joke, and that’s worth seeing again — particularly if you explain to your kids ahead of time why it’s so funny.

9. How’s the voice acting?

Pretty good, if mostly unremarkable. The actors reprising their roles from the first movie do a good job, though with no real standouts in my opinion. Of the new characters, Kristen Wiig does a good job with her role as Lucy, making her both nutty and appealing at the same time. The minions, of course, are wonderful — it wouldn’t surprise me if the chief reason Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud returned to direct the sequel was so they could do the minion voices again.

In case you haven’t seen a trailer for the movie, here’s a good one:

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