In his old bachelor baddie days, Gru schemed to steal the moon.
Now, he is over the moon for the three orphaned sisters he adopted. When the fairy princess booked for little Agnes' birthday party cancels, he dons a blond wig, ruffled pink dress and filmy wings and tries to fill her sparkly shoes.
Gru, his daughters and -- cue the gibberish -- the minions are back in "Despicable Me 2," a sequel opening today that builds on the goodwill of the 2010 blockbuster, advances the story and delivers PG-rated entertainment that will make you glad you sprang for the 3-D glasses. If you do, make sure you sit through the credits for the "Minion Movie Auditions."
As the story opens, Gru (voice of Steve Carell) and Dr. Nefario are trying to replace villainy with vittles, namely jellies and jams. However, their fruity concoction is awful, which allows Gru time to join forces with the Anti-Villain League to sniff out a secret enemy with a serum that turns subjects into oversize, ravenous, purple creatures.
3 1/2 stars = Very good
Voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt.
PG for rude humor and mild action.
Gru and an AVL agent, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), have a "meet cute" involving a lipstick Taser and a kidnapping in a car worthy of James Bond and his gadget gurus. Although Gru insists he doesn't love Lucy, the girls sense she might be a good match for the man terrified by the notion of dating.
Gru and Lucy go undercover in a mall where the super villain supposedly has set up shop and where a boy catches Margo's eye. At the same time, some of the minions start to disappear in a mystery that might be tied into Gru's bigger mission.
Russell Brand once again speaks for Dr. Nefario, and new voices include Benjamin Bratt as the supersize operator of the Salsa & Salsa mall restaurant, Ken Jeong as the owner of the Eagle Hair Club for Men and, as Margo's crush, Moises Arias. Rico on "Hannah Montana," Mr. Arias recently played Matt on "The Middle" and can be seen in "The Kings of Summer," opening Friday.
Directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin -- one American, one French -- speak Minion, literally here, providing the voices of the yellow thumb-shaped creatures with one or two eyes looming large behind goggles, and skinny arms and stubby legs.
"Despicable Me 2" is good, giggly fun, not too scary for the little ones and with enough adventure, 007-style gizmos and dating disasters to keep adults engaged.
It's not as blazingly original as the 2010 movie and occasionally reaches for easy laughs, as with a flatulence device, but like the ice cream truck rolling through Gru's neighborhood, this comic adventure is a welcome sight on a hot summer day.