I didn’t like Despicable Me much when I first saw it. It has grown on me a little with the repeat viewings typically experienced by any parent of young children. The similarly themed Megamind was better but this was also the Summer that Pixar’s Toy Story 3 came out so frankly anything else was going to look poor by comparison (and I’m talking about all films here, not just the animations).
History appears to be repeating itself because I was equally unimpressed with Despicable Me 2 and once again Pixar have a movie, Monsters University, coming out of the gates just behind it. The big difference this time is that my first impressions are unlikely to change because my three children didn’t like it either. They all clearly stated that they have no desire to ever see it again.
Despicable Me 2 has a high gag rate but for me most of them missed the mark. I think I might have laughed twice but most of the humour is just too obvious and predictable, particularly if you’ve seen the first one too many times. I’m sorry but a fat person having to squeeze through a door is not sophisticated or clever.
Not that the humour necessarily need to be either of those things; I find the word bottom as funny as the next man but most of the good stuff was in the previews. The trailer seems to have been playing against every family friendly film since just after the last one came out so I am afraid I stopped finding that stuff amusing months ago. Frustratingly, as part of an advert for Odeon, the trailer even showed today before the film it was actually showcasing which certainly didn’t help matters.
It wasn’t the weak comedy that turned off the 11, 9 and 4 year old accompanying me though, it was the overly complicated and unengaging plot. Despicable Me goes the Cars route of producing a sequel that tones down the simple examination of character and relationships in favour of more story with extra fighting and bigger explosions. The result is a film that, based on an admittedly very small sample, doesn’t appeal to viewers of any age.
Is this one for the kids?
Surprisingly my youngest daughter actually found the film too scary. The Twinkie-a-like minions are given a slightly bigger role here which involves them turning evil and the idea that something endearingly and benevolent could turn nasty was clearly disturbing. Maybe she isn’t going to enjoy Monsters University after all.