There are so many ways Despicable Me 2
could have gone wrong, and so many things it does right. Despicable Me
, released by Universal, was close to perfect, so unrepentant in its lack of moral virtue, and so much fun that making a sequel sounded like a terrible idea: Now that the pot-bellied super villain Gru is a dad, does he have to be a nice guy? Where's the fun in that? But Despicable Me 2
remains resolutely unshrunk. It's breezy and affable without ever going completely soft. That becomes clear early on when Gru, after staging a backyard birthday party for the youngest of his three little "gorltz," blasts an annoying neighbor with a garden hose. In his unidentifiable accent-- half borscht, half Borscht Belt-- he offers the ultimate unapologetic apology: "I'm so sorry, I did not see you there." The opening, in which an Arctic Circle research facility is whisked off into the sky, is extravagant in a James Bond way. And the finale is suitably action-packed, though nervous parents can rest assured that the weapons used here squirt nothing but jelly. In between, directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud keep everything blessedly low-key, proving that you don't need an antic plot when your characters are well drawn to begin with. Lucy, the love interest, is the best kind of animated screwball heroine: With her rubbery limbs, she has an ostrich ballerina's grace. And Gru, wearing his usual uniform of black drainpipe trousers, Beatle boots, and Euro-groovy zip-up jacket-- he's shaped like a hipster Monsieur Hulot-- reaches new heights of grousing and English-mangling, some of them marvelously lowbrow.