Despicable Me 2

120px-Film-stripIt’s the holidays which means we have to find things for the kids to do. So, with the sun blazing outside we headed for a darkened room to watch a fat man and some small yellow creatures.

Despicable Me 2

“Goodbye, Mister Sheepbutt.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Villain turns hero as Gru is drafted by an anti-bad-guy organisation

See if it you like: kids’ films with cute backing characters

It’s a fairly unimaginative name for a sequel – there’s not even a subtitle – but they’ve tried their best to put a new spin on the characters and storyline. Gru (Steve Carrell) is this time a good guy after turning over a new leaf at the end of the original. He’s partnered with Agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) to find out who’s stolen a secret formula which turns simple, innocent creatures into vicious, invulnerable monsters.

Guess which creatures the formula will be used on?

As ever, the story is ably backed up by the cast of millions of minions (due to star in their own sequel in 2014). In fact, they’re still the real stars of the film. Proof? Have you seen any Gru merchandise? Or the three orphan kids? Nope.

There are a couple of pop culture references, some great slapstick sequences but – for some reason – the film left me feeling a bit flat. Despite some genuinely funny moments, I just found it a bit samey. Different from the first film, but too similar to many others.

It’s still good. The kids loved it (though Little Mister claimed that the purple monsters were too scary and wanted to leave – he settled for firing imaginary arrows at them instead), and the audience were laughing out loud at a handful of scenes.

I’d still recommend it even though I wasn’t too keen on it as it’s more likely down to me being pooched. I was up at 5am to give a friend a lift to work, so was struggling to stay awake at points. No reflection on the animation, though!

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Bridesmaids

By إبن البيطار (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAnd a week after I saw it I finally do a blog post. Sorry about that. Things have been hectic with the end of term, extra-curricular activities, buying a car, moving house and so on. So without any further ado, the only film I had a chance to catch last week:

Bridesmaids

“I’ve seen better tennis playing in a tampon commercial.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: aging spinster is chosen to be head bridesmaid for a friend’s wedding – a friend who has recently garnered a new “best friend” who tries that bit too hard to impress.

See it if you like: A bit of off-colour humour in an otherwise by-the-numbers rom-com.

Basically, this was the only film left that I’d not already seen. The trailers make it out to be The Hangover with fallopian tubes and in small segments, it’s getting there. However, overall it’s far closer to being a standard chick-centred rom-com, only with some bad language and fart (and shit and vomit) jokes thrown in.

As a result, it was actually a bit better than I expected but still had issues. It’s got quite the running length and, frankly, could have done with a bit of a pruning. A couple of scenes are uncomfortably annoying to watch, the joke in them being stretched that bit too long. Key amongst these is the scene where Annie (played by co-writer Kristen Wiig) discovers that her childhood friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) has a new “best friend”, Whitney (Jessica St. Clair). Their back and forth attempts to get the last word in pass “humorous” after the second bout. By the fifth, it’s just plain annoying.

This is typical of a couple of the scenes, and it’s a shame. With a bit more judicious editing, the film could have been that bit better and those sliced segments would have bolstered a “director’s cut” on DVD.

The performances are pretty good across the board and it’s got some really good laughs. Definitely better than I expected it to be, but nowhere near as gut-bustingly funny as the first viewing of The Hangover with which it is trying so hard to be compared.

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