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Goofy Gru outdoes himself in "Despicable Me 2" (DVD review)

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Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt (voice talents)

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Ex-super villain Gru (Carell) has given up his life of crime and resigned himself to a life of jelly making and fatherhood. But when some mysterious activity at the Arctic Circle raises suspicion of a dangerous new criminal, the Anti-Villain League, led by super-agent Lucy (Wiig), comes to recruit the Despicable One. How will Gru adjust to his new role as a hero? - and can he simultaneously juggle three young girls, his army of crazy Minions, and the struggles of bachelorhood all at once?

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The Breakdown:

Unlike the slow-starting original, "Despicable Me 2" goes strong early on and keeps its foot on the pedal. Without having to take 30 minutes to introduce Gru and the girls, it gives the movie an extra half-hour for fun and pranks. As far as humor is concerned, it's a pretty clever film and, though the comedy will appeal mainly to youngsters, parents and other adult viewers should be able to enjoy the ride, as well. The Minions are hilarious, as per usual, which is great. They truly light up the screen nearly every time they're shown (or heard). The unfortunate part about that is that they end up carrying so much of the film. It's not that the other characters are bad - it's that the Minions are so likable that viewers may occasionally find themselves asking, "When are the Minions coming back?" The good news is that they've got their own movie coming out in 2015, so stay tuned for that. The animation and CGI work look great in hi-def, but some of the gags are clearly designed for viewing in 3D on the big screen and don't translate quite as well to the plasma screen in your living room. The DVD bonus features are pretty sparse and standard; nothing to drool over.

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The Verdict:

"Despicable Me 2" is, essentially, more of the same as Gru is up to his old tricks. Like many sequels, this one is cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, so there's a good indication of whether you'll like the 2013 installment or not. The movie easily blends family-friendly humor with slapstick action and a fun plot and makes for a great night with the family. Kids will love it, mainly, but it's a movie that can - and should - appeal to viewers of every age. It's definitly better than the first and will likely propel the franchise toward the ever-popular trilogy in the next couple years. If you need something to watch and are looking for a laugh, "Despicable Me 2" is just what the doctor ordered.

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Similar movies: "Despicable Me" (2010), "Megamind" (2010), "The Incredibles" (2004)

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DVD bonus features:

- Audio in English, French, Spanish, English Descriptive Audio

- Subtitles in English, French, Spanish

- "Gru's Girls": A behind-the-scenes look at Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher, and Steve Carell and their on-screen family.

- "Gadgets Galore": Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, and the production team discuss Gru and Lucy's wide range of Despicable weaponry.

- Optional audio commentary with directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin

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Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

Studio: Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment

Running time: 98 minutes

MPAA rating: PG for "rude humor and mild action," including miscellaneous crude humor, slapstick violence, one brief glimpse of rear Minion nudity, and lots of fart jokes.

Costars Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher, the Minions, Russell Brand (voice talents)

DVD release date: December 10, 2013

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