Film Review Despicable Me 2

Gru (voice of Steve Carell) finds a love interest in Lucy (Kristen Wiig) in "Despicable Me 2."

Universal Pictures

What a nice surprise: Gru is just as funny as a good guy.

“Despicable Me 2” is, believe it or not, a romance-focused romp that has its share of villains. This time around, though, Gru is not among them.

Gru (voice of Steve Carell) has changed his bad-guy ways. He’s now a family man, father to his three daughters, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (Elsie Fisher) and Edith (Dana Gaier). His laboratory, previously used to concoct evil schemes and formulas, is being used as a location for his Minions and Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) to develop jam recipes.

All is quiet and loving in the Gru household. That is, until a mysterious secret agent named Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) appears on the scene. She tries to sneak up on Gru, and then, although he knows she’s up to something, successfully stows him in her car and takes him to the high-tech secret headquarters of the Anti-Villain League.

Lucy’s boss is Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan), who tells Gru he can help them with a problem: Someone has taken a toxic material that can turn passive creatures such as Gru’s own Minions into fanged killing machines. At first, Gru tells Silas (whom he refers to as “Sheepsbutt”) that he wants nothing to do with this assignment. But at last he agrees to accompany Lucy to a shopping mall to find out where the substance is hidden.

At the mall, Gru makes a discovery that terrifies him: His oldest daughter, Margo, has eyes for a handsome boy who is the son of mall restaurant owner Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt). Now, Gru needs to track down the villain while he simultaneously keeps an eye on his daughter. And he gets no peace from an annoying acquaintance who wants to set him up on blind dates with every single woman she knows.

I like the way the girls are growing up and the way they help Gru mature into someone who is brave enough to consider romance. All of the characters are every bit as likable this time around.

Be sure to stay for the end credits, particularly if you’re seeing this in 3-D (and you should, because the effects are enjoyable). You’ll enjoy a group of Minions and their antics that will seem to come off the screen and directly at you.