Despicable Me 2 open at the Beacon Theatre Friday

For grownups there are many clever references scattered throughout Despicable Me 2.

After witnessing Gru transform from a super-villain to a super-dad with a Play-Doh heart at the end of 2010’s Despicable Me, there was just no way there wouldn’t be a sequel.

And Despicable Me 2 is better than the original, but not for its storytelling. The 98-minute movie replaces things like plot details with what the audience is clearly more interested in seeing: minions, adorable daddy-daughter moments (Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, dressing up as a Gruzinklebell princess for Agnes’ birthday), and of course, for Gru to find the girls a mommy.

And more minions. Did I mention the minions rock? Those yellow, pill-shaped goofballs took lessons from the Three Stooges to orchestrate their countless comedic vignettes, which, if strung together, could be a feature film of their own. They also become the object of the new villain’s desire.

Now a family man with precocious daughters Margo, Agnes and Edith (Miranda Cosgrove, Elsie Fisher and Dana Gaier), ex-villain Gru is trying to launch a respectable business with Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) and their mob of minions. Then he’s sidetracked by undercover spy Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and her boss Silas (Steve Coogan), who need his help to find the villain who has stolen a top-secret government chemical. His suspicion falls on Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt), who looks suspiciously like former bad guy colleague El Macho. And Gru is horrified when Margo falls for Eduardo’s bad boy teen son (Moises Arias).

For grownups, there are many clever references scattered throughout Despicable Me 2, with its James Bond plot and its sly homages to Invasion of the Body Snatchers among many others. But the directors make sure that stuff doesn’t overwhelm the kid appeal of the three smart little girls and the well-paced adventure that drives the movie. The result is a sequel that is the opposite of despicable.


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