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A Great Summer to be a Kid: “Despicable Me 2”

by on July 30, 2013

He-he, bottom.

I’ve talked before about how it hasn’t been a great summer (or even a good one, for that matter) for movies. Empty action movies are being thrown into theaters one after another.

Believe it or not, it gets old to see apocalyptic films every weekend.

One vastly under-reported fact this summer, though, has been the quality of 2013’s kid’s movies.

Man, I wish I could step in a time machine and be under the age of 10 again because it has been a stellar year for kid’s movies.

From Blue Sky’s Epic to Pixar’s long-awaited prequel Monsters University, to Universal’s latest animated franchise, Despicable Me 2, it has been a great time to be a kid.

In a dark world of apocalyptic movies, these ones, that have the will to believe that anything is possible—from becoming a scarer to stopping an evil villain with an army full of purple Minions—are standing tall above the rest.

Monsters University brought me back to being a kid again, and Despicable Me 2 reminded me how to see the good in people and the cuteness in a bunch of little monsters (including the girls).

I may not be thrilled for Turbo or Pixar’s Cars (2006) spin-off, Planes, but the way the summer in kid’s movies has started has me excited to see what comes next.

Despicable Me 2, although not as perfect as the first, is a poignant story of a once-evil Gru (Steve Carell) who is learning to raise his three little girls, get back out into the dating world and become a good person who makes jams and jellies. However, the world of crime comes calling, giving Gru a purpose again (because it was clear his jams and jellies weren’t panning out).

He teams up with Lucy (Kristen Wiig) from the Anti-Villain League to discover who stole some type of illegal substance that mutates animals into killing machines. The story isn’t great, but the family moments sprinkled throughout the movie are fantastic.

Margo is entering the harsh world of dating and boys. Agnes, one of the cutest characters in movie history, is searching for a mother figure in her life. Gru can’t cope with losing one of his daughters to a boy. Lucy and Gru fall for each other. The Minions…well; the Minions are hilarious and enjoy dressing up as the Village People.*

*The costumes that the minions wear crack me up more than anything else about them, from the maid costume to the plumber to the Village People to the knights, they are flat-out hilarious. Their made-up language is pretty great, too.

Nonetheless, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more enjoyable kid’s movie this summer. And the best part is, it’s only 98 minutes long.

I could spend time with these characters for longer, and that’s what’s great about Despicable Me. It has a way of leaving you wanting for more. The little girls are cute and funny*—Agnes’ wedding speech was one of the most touching, funny moments I’ve seen in a while—, the minions are quirky and always fun, and Gru is a fun father who will even go so far as to dress up as a ballerina for his kids.

*Although the middle child, Edith, was greatly diminished and limited in this movie by her ninja obsession. I was a little disappointed because her character rivaled Agnes in the first movie.

These are characters I wouldn’t mind visiting again and again. Now, where’s that time machine?

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