Despicable Me 2 (U, 98 mins)
Directors: Pierre Coffin,Chris Renaud
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Reformed super-villain Gru (Steve Carell) is now a family man in this sequel to an animated comedy that was built almost exclusively around the perceived charms of Gru’s little yellow Minions. This second go-round decides to take their presence up several notches, and if tots find their reaction shots, slapstick and farting funny then so be it. The plot involves Gru getting recruited by the Anti-Villain League, who get him out of retirement to track down a bad guy with a serum that turns people (and Minions, lots and lots of Minions) into monsters. It’s the most perfunctory of storylines, with a subplot that sees Gru’s daughters trying to find him a girlfriend, and grasps for laughs are desperate. There’s lots of physical hijinks and the animation is expertly timed, but there’s no soul, and it quickly becomes evident this is every bit as pointless and forgettable as the first film. It’s candy-bright and Carell gives an energetic and committed vocal performance, but it’s not enough to raise Despicable Me 2 from the ordinary.