Despicable Me wasn’t bashful about targeting youngsters. Mixing fart jokes and mild peril, it was perfect for diminutive audience member who wouldn’t pay attention to the plot or yearn for even a hint of edginess. Despicable Me 2 is the same, but with much more screen time dedicated to the yellow minions, presumably for the purposes of merchandising.
Ex-supervillain Gru (Steve Carell) is setting down to his life as an adoptive father, taking care of his three new daughters and focusing on the development of spreadable preserves rather than world domination. But this domestic idyll is disrupted when the Anti-Villain League sends Agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) to ask for his help. A secretive new bad guy has emerged, stealing a dangerous substance that turns cute critters into fluffy, purple death machines. Gru has to go undercover at a shopping mall to try and track down the perpetrator, while also dealing with his emerging romantic feelings for Wilde.
It’s action-packed and full of colour, with the constant pratfalls of the minions sure to delight kids. There’s even a bit of character development as Gru struggles to deal with the blossoming of his eldest daughter Margo (Miranda Cosgrove). But the problem with Despicable Me 2 and its predecessor is that it just feels like a Saturday morning cartoon stretched out to an hour and a half. Not enough is done to justify the scale of the production and adult viewers will be more aware than ever that it’s basically a vehicle to advertise toys.