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"Despicable Me 2": Critics say sequel isn't so despicable

Steve Carellhas his fart-gun fully loaded once again as anti-hero Gru in "Despicable Me 2."

After adopting three precocious orphan girls in the first film, Gru now finds himself trying to adjust to domestic life as a single father in this new 3D animated sequel.

It isn't long before he eventually gets called back into action by agents from the Anti-Villain League (voiced by Steve Coogan and Kristen Wiig) to try to stop returning mastermind Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) and a mysterious villain who may or may not be a character voiced by Benjamin Bratt.

The sequel was written by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul and directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud -- the same team of filmmakers behind 2010's "Despicable Me," which became the tenth highest grossing animated film of all time.

Critics say that, while "Despicable Me 2" doesn't exactly match the quality of its predecessor, the sequel does manage to provide interesting visuals and sight gags for adults and children. Particular praise has been given to Wiig's vocal performance and the return of Gru's cute yellow minions, but many critics wished the now-reformed Gru had been as despicably fun as he had been in the first film:

Peter Deburge, Variety: "While not quite as charming or unique as the original, 'Despicable Me 2' comes awfully close, extending co-directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin's delightfully silly sensibility to a bit larger universe."

Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News: "While it isn't as touching or as exuberantly funny as the original, it's a cute summer diversion for kids with just enough wink-wink slyness and cheeky cinematic asides to hold the interests of older teens and adults. On those grounds, it's worth the price of a matinee admission. If you feel like paying more, the 3D is astonishingly good."

Soren Anderson, The Seattle Times: "Make no mistake. The sequel to 2010's worldwide half-billion-dollar-grossing animated blockbuster is fun. It's cheerful. It's lollipop colorful. Best of all, it features lots of minion mischief, which guarantees plenty of laughs. But what it doesn't have is an edge."

Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter: "Returning directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and the returning writing team of Ken Daurio and Cino Paul again maintain the energy of a bruits, buoyant clip, while Carell and the rest of cast add an extra layer of dimension to those expressively drawn characters."

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: "Steve Carell's Slavic infections as Gru do the trick, as before. Wiig's clever hesitations and comic timing help save the day."

Stephanie Merry, The Washington Post: "Once again, [the minions] manage to tickle moviegoers big and small in the way only cat videos usually do, and they very nearly run off with the sequel...But the sweet story holds its own."

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: "The best thing in the movie is the army of chattery yellow minions who are injected with a serum that transforms them into gnashing purple beasties. By the end, every child in the audience will want his or her own monster-minion toy."

Claudia Puig, USA Today: "With its predecessor having made a whopping $540 million globally, it's no wonder that Universal saw fit to order a sequel. But it's not enough just to troll out legions of minions and cobble together a plot. Audiences deserve more imagination and inventiveness than this wan recycling."

Alfonso Duralde, The Wrap: "Little kids won't be too bored, but adults who found themselves charmed by the first 'Despicable Me' may or may not be along for the ride this time. Universal has already announced a third sequel, 'Minions' (which, sadly, isn't solely centered on those walking ids), and here's hoping Gru can be a little descpiable-r next time."

"Despicable Me 2" is now playing in theaters.

Tell us: Do you plan to see "Despicable Me 2"?

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