Med City Movie Guy: 'Despicable' sequel is crisp and tender — with a scene-stealing chicken


Funnyman Steve Carell once again lends a wacky voice to bring the villain Gru to life in "Despicable Me 2," the sequel to the 2010 breakout hit.

Now quietly raising his adopted daughters and marketing awful-tasting jellies and jams, Gru is called out of retirement — this time to help the good guys — when a secret formula that turns people into killers goes missing.

Teaming with Anti-Villain League agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) he poses as the proprietor of a cupcake shop in a mall where the formula has been detected. Which of his fellow storekeepers is really the next great supervillain? Is it Eduardo Perez (Benjamin Bratt) who owns a Mexican restaurant and bears a striking resemblance to the presumed-dead villain El Macho, or is it the mild-mannered Floyd Eagle-san (Ken Jeong) who runs a wig shop? He'll find out.

The original film was clever, funny, fresh, had a lot of heart and moved at a crisp but not hyper pace. This one has all of that, thanks to the same teams of writers and directors; and it has Wiig whose spunky and charming character perfectly compliments Gru.

Also back are perennial favorites Dr. Nefario (comedian Russell Brand), who resigns as Gru's scientist because he can't stand the thought of not working for a bad guy, and, of course, Gru's yellow minions, whom I found silly but younger moviegoers thought were hysterical (the flatulation humor was also popular with that demographic).


Which is to say there's something here for everyone (less for older teens and twenty-somethings). I love Carell's accent, which makes even the throwaway lines laugh-out-loud funny ("Here is some money, go out and buy some useless mall junk!"). It also sells some the film's tender moments, as he deals with his girls growing up.

Lots of sight gags here work well, too, especially Gru's bad toupe and pop culture references like the minion reminiscent of "Love Boat's" Isaac the bartender. But Eduardo's chicken is the scene-stealer.

Overall, this sequel is the rare family film. It's refreshing and there is an innocent feel to the comedy that makes it unobjectionable yet entertaining.

4 honks

Chris Miksanek is a Rochester freelance writer. Follow him on the Center Stage blog at

While "Despicable Me 2" dominated the box office, theaters showing "The Lone Ranger" were largely empty. How is it that this $250 million Johnny Depper sent Disney Kimo-sobbing?

There are a lot of theories, ranging from its length (2-1/2 hours) to its star (the less-than-familiar Armie Hammer of "The Social Network").


Others attribute the failure to the so-called "Curse of the Blockbuster Western." While a few have both performed well and were critically received (Quentin Tarantino’s "Django Unchained" and the Coens’ "True Grit," for instance), the genre doesn’t play well overseas, where films depend more and more for revenue.

1999’s "Wild Wild West" probably started the trend. Helmed by Barry Sonnenfeld, it starred Will Smith at the top of his box office game. But it takes more than a big name to recoup a $170 million investment, and this one had nothing else to offer.

I stood alone liking the $160 million 2011 sci-fi western "Cowboys & Aliens." That one starred Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, was directed by Jon Favreau and produced by Ron Howard, proving there’s no such thing as a sure thing.

It's a risky genre.

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