[REVIEW] Comedy overcomes stereotypes in Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2

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Despicable Me 2 (MPAA Rating: PG)
Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

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I have to say – there are few sequels that truly surpass the original, but Despicable Me 2 does exactly that.  I went with my seven-year-old on opening week, and you could hear the theater burst into laughter, especially from the parents.

DM2 starts where the last one left off, with Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) as the unlikely dad of three adorable girls, who convert his evil lair into a kid’s wonderland of stuffed toys and battle axes. He has refocused his evil mind into more legitimate, if not as tasty, entrepreneurial missions, and his minions are as helpful as ever.

Gru is then unwillingly recruited by a secret investigative group and is teamed up with newbie Lucy (Kristen Wiig) to save the world. Or at least, the nearby mall.

I liked what they did with the story, which I didn’t expect could go much further than the end of the first Despicable Me. Yes, they go back to their comical cliché of fart jokes and heavy things falling on unsuspecting heads. But the campiness is right on the money.  Steve Carell is much more confident in his delivery of Gru, and allows more of his signature personality to shine through. Kristen gives Lucy gawky appeal, and the directors Coffin and Renaud, who are the voices of the minions, kept us laughing with their antics and their unique, “FreSpalian” language. I’m pretty sure they were the ones who came up with Startbucks’ cup sizes.

Benjamin Bratt voices Eduardo – a man with a past who ends up being Gru’s nemesis. Bratt does a great job with the silky, Mr. Roarke voice, but the movie laid on the Latino stereotypes pretty heavy for the furry villain. The ex-Mexican wrestler, as wide as he is tall, with an enough body hair, tattoos, and machismo to fill the food court at the mall where he has his “Salsa and Salsa” restaurant… ok, I’m still with you for now… but then there is a whole scene where he does a dance routine for his (mostly female) patrons, and literally snatches a suburban, cardigan-wearing gringa from the arms of her husband, has his way with her (on the dance floor), and hands her back disheveled and woozy from the encounter.  Oh, and his son is also smooth with the young ladies and has got moves of his own.  We get it. Latins are macho and sexually aggressive.  Let’s assume it’s all satire, so before we send out the PC police, it should be taken into context within the Eastern European accent/antics of Gru, the English pomp & stuffiness of another character, Silas Ramsbottom, oh, and the guy from the Asian-themed wig store who dresses in a — is that a Kimono?

Overall, my kid loved it, and you could see the other kids pretending to be minions as they exited the theater. Word of advice if you DON’T see it in 3D: try to get yourself a pair of minion specs anyway…

Your daddy time: Worth It of Wasted? WORTH IT! Fill up the car seats Dad, this is an easy choice for a fun afternoon or a family night out.  After the bit of racial deprogramming needed after the credits, this is one to remember!

Miguel Guadalupe

Miguel Guadalupe is a Director at Gartner Inc, a technology research company. Miguel (he’s the one in the middle) grew up in New York City and currently resides in New Jersey. A graduate of Wesleyan University, he currently volunteers for various alumni and community organizations, and is the proud father of a two beautiful girls.

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