Attention parents, bubbas and zaidas everywhere. If the thought of another blanket grey weekend spent in soft-play hell with the kids is more than you can stand, fear not. Gru, his adopted orphans and those dinky yellow minions, have returned to chase away the bouncy castle blues and, like a good family board game, delight everyone from six to 96.
The entertainment potential of this sequel really is all age encompassing, offering a wonderful balance of laughs and sentimentality. Story-wise it may lack the sparky originality of the first film, but animation directors Pierre Leduc and Bruno Dequier have filled the characters with so much personality and charm that they steal your heart in much the same way as the little orphans stole Gru’s first time around.
If you didn’t see DM 1, you missed Gru (Steve Carrell) in his former incarnation as an ambitious villain who tried to steal the moon. All that changed when he met and eventually adopted Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and the supremely adorable Agnes (Elsie Fisher) and became a reformed baddie. So reformed, in fact, that as this film opens, he dresses up as a fairy princess to keep Edith happy at her birthday party.
With the capable Carrell, though, it’s all about the voice. Gru is like a favourite Eastern European uncle who despite his unconventional looks is on course for romance as the girls badly want a mother. Along with extending his oddball family, Gru has also been recruited by the Anti-Villain League to work alongside secret agent and potential love interest Lucy (Bridesmaids’ Kristen Wiig) and find a stolen secret serum, which can cause monstrous mutations in bunnies, but, more worryingly, in minions.
Gru’s loyal babbling minions — who speak a language redolent of that used by Latka in the classic US TV comedy, Taxi — have turned scene-stealing into an art form. With their elaborate costume changes and kiddie sense of humour, it’s no surprise they are set to have their own movie.
You’ll know why I loved this film when the 3D minions burst into their own version of YMCA and blow bubbles out of the screen during the closing credits. Though my recommendation pales besides that of my three companions, aged between six and 10, who unanimously declared it: “The best film ever in the whole world.” And they are not far wrong.