Making the Grades
After attempting a lunar heist in Despicable Me, Gru (voice of Steve Carell), the bald villain with a prickly personality, has mellowed considerably thanks to his three adopted daughters. And while transforming his evil lab into a jelly factory hasn’t gone quite as expected, you have to give the man points for trying to reform. After all, leaving behind a life of villainy and miscreant behavior takes a certain amount of discipline.
However Gru can’t refuse a chance to get back in the game when Silas Ramsbottom (voice of Steve Coogan) of the Anti-Villain League recruits him to find out who stole an entire Arctic lab and a powerful new toxin. Luckily Gru’s girls, Margo (voice of Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (voice of Elsie Kate Fisher) and Edith (voice of Dana Gaier) are supportive of their dad’s new job opportunity. But Gru isn’t tackling the mission on his own. The league has assigned him a partner. While Gru doesn’t see Lucy (voice of Kristen Wiig) as an asset in his undercover endeavor, Agnes is smitten with the redheaded spy.
Meanwhile Gru’s lab assistant Dr. Nefario (voice of Russell Brand) makes a career move of his own leaving the legion of Gru’s minions to party in the lab. Like the original movie, the little yellow underlings have a way of getting into trouble when unsupervised. This time they turn the jelly making facilities into a nightclub with drinks and dancing. But Gru is so preoccupied with his mission that he doesn’t notice his minions’ antics, or that they are slowly disappearing.
Some scary cartoon characters and frequent slapstick violence aren’t the only reasons Despicable Me 2 is better suited for an older audience. (Many of the scenes involving chain saws, an apparent impaling and the repeated use of an electrical shock gun may frighten younger viewers.) While the minions and their poop jokes are meant to entertain the kids, this script is full of jokes only adults will appreciate. Like many single men, the grumpy Gru has to deal with an overly enthusiastic neighbor who is determined to set him up on a date, even if she has to camp outside his door to do it. Gru also finds himself playing the new role of protective father when his oldest daughter falls in love with someone he considers completely incompatible.
Although Gru isn’t the kind of parent most of us would want to host our child’s birthday party, there is still something entertaining about a father who takes a different—although still loving—approach to childrearing in this era of hypersensitive parenting.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Despicable Me 2.
How do family responsibilities change Gru? How does his parenting style differ from many other moms or dads? Why does he feel so protective of Margo when she falls in love with a young man? Can it be hard for dads to let their daughters go? Why is Agnes so eager to have a mother?
Why is Gru nervous around women? How can childhood experiences continue to affect us as adults?
What is Cinco de Mayo? How do people celebrate it?