Despicable Me 2

  • Review Date: July 1, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013

Common Sense Media says

More minions and romance make for a sweet, silly sequel.
  • Review Date: July 1, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

As with the first movie, kids will learn that all families aren't alike and that even if you think you're ugly and undesirable, that's not true, and there are people who will appreciate and love you.

Positive messages

The strong bond between fathers and daughters is stressed, as is the importance of open communication between parents and children, as well as romantic partners. Gru's love story shows that even people who consider themselves unlovable can find love. That said, some have criticized the way that Gru's potential dates are depicted (either unattractive or plastic surgery-enhanced) and how the movie makes it seem that Gru and the girls need a wife/mother to complete their family. But Gru was actually perfectly happy raising the girls with just his minions as helpers and wasn't "looking" for a wife. And Lucy is a remarkable woman who fits in with the family because she and Gru respect each other, not "just" because she's a woman.

Positive role models

Gru is a great dad: He's protective and sweet and will stop at nothing to make sure that his girls are safe. Dr. Nefario redeems himself by making it clear that Gru and the girls are his family. The sisters adore their dad and are good to each other. Lucy sees past Gru's aloof exterior to the kind of father he is to the girls. With teamwork and smarts, Gru and the girls save the world from an army of mutated minions. The owner of a Mexican restaurant is depicted somewhat stereotypically.

Violence & scariness

Because Gru is happy and no longer a supervillain, there's not as much violence this time around. There are cartoonish scenes in which Gru and his minions are tasered, but the only "real" violence is near the end, when (possible spoiler alert!) the minions are transformed into purple killing machines (although strangely still cute) that can destroy everything around them. Lucy is taken hostage. The minions become weapons, and Gru and the girls must use antidote-filled guns to turn them back into the harmless yellow creatures we all love. The bad guy threatens Gru with knives. A chicken has a vendetta against Gru and Lucy.

Sexy stuff

Gru goes on a date. Gru and Lucy fall in love and kiss. Young Margo falls for Antonio, and the two dance and hold hands.

Language

Mild insults like "nutjob," "sheep's butt," and "Gruties" (a mix of "Gru" and "cooties").

Consumerism

No product placement in the movie, but Despicable Me (especially the minions) has plenty of merchandise tie-ins and even a big ride at Universal Studios Orlando.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Despicable Me 2, the sequel to 2010's hit supervillain adventure Despicable Me, features gadgets and weapons like the original, but now with the aim of stopping "evil" instead of perpetrating it. There's a romantic subplot between Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig), an Anti-Villain League agent. Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) has her first crush and boyfriend as well, although both couples mostly flirt and stare at each other (the adults do kiss). Language is mild ("nutjob," "sheep's butt"), and the violence is cartoonish and silly but does include biological weapons and a taser gun. Mexican restaurant owner Eduardo is depicted somewhat stereotypically (his restaurant is Salsa and Salsa, he has a pet chicken he calls el pollito, and he throws a lavish Cinco de Mayo party). Otherwise, this is a minions-filled animated adventure for the entire family.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Retired supervillain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) lives happily with his three girls -- Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher) -- their trusty minions, and Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), who's developing a line of jams and jellies for the family to sell. Then one day, a mysterious woman named Lucy (Kristen Wiig) kidnaps Gru and takes him to the underwater headquarters of the Anti-Villain League, where director Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) explains that a dangerous bioweapon that can turn living creatures into purple killing machines has been stolen by a supervillain whom they believe is hiding at the Paradise Mall. The AVL wants Gru to infiltrate the mall and find out which shop owner has plans for world domination. Gru reluctantly agrees and poses as a cupcake baker, with Lucy his partner. Gru suspects the mall's Mexican restaurant owner, Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt), but becomes irrational when Margo falls for Eduardo's smooth-talking son, Antonio (Moises Arias). Meanwhile, Agnes desperately wants Gru to fall in love with Lucy so she'll have a mother, and the minions keep disappearing. Gru must once again the save the day, with the girls at his side.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The first Despicable Me was such a revelation: A supervillain antihero meeting three adorable orphans is hard to beat in originality. But with DESPICABLE ME 2, the directors have made an entertaining (albeit less revolutionary) sequel that's worthy of the hype, particularly when it comes to the minions. The quirky little yellow creatures are irresistibly hilarious, and they steal virtually every scene they're in with their banana-loving, mischief-making shenanigans -- culminating in a laugh-aloud minion cover of the '90s ballad "I Swear" (a lovely bit of nostalgia for parents who grew up in the '80s and '90s). In addition to the fantastically funny minions and the once again wonderfully unique score by Pharrell Williams and Heitor Pereira, the plot is simple but sweet. Wiig's Lucy and Carell's Gru share a bantering chemistry that's definitely not the "damsel in distress meets her prince" dynamic of so many other animated romances.

Ultimately, the Despicable Me movies are about family, and that's what makes them so easy to love. Gru is now a father first, spy/retired supervillain second. His girls are his everything, and when Margo's heart is broken by Antonio (the ultimate cool tween, with his floppy hair and leather jacket), or when Agnes (who rivals Monsters, Inc.'s Boo as the cutest animated child ever) can't recite a poem about motherhood, he's there with a kind word and an encouraging hug. Forget Daddy Warbucks -- Gru is the best bald adoptive dad in popular culture! Even the scenes of mild peril will obviously end up all right, because audiences know that a super dad will do anything for his kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how sequels typically compare to the original movies. Do you think Despicable Me 2 is as good as Despicable Me? What other sequels live up to their predecessors?

  • How does the cartoon action in this movie compare to others you've seen? Does this kind of media violence have more or less impact than what's in live-action movies? Why?

  • Some critics have called the depiction of restaurant owner Eduardo stereotypical. Do you agree? Why or why not?

  • Why are the minions so lovable? How is their humor aimed at both kids and adults?

  • How do the two romances in the movie compare to each other? In what ways does Gru's experience with Lucy help him understand Margo's situation with Antonio?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 3, 2013
DVD release date:December 10, 2013
Cast:Benjamin Bratt, Kristen Wiig, Steve Carell
Directors:Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:rude homor and mild action

This review of Despicable Me 2 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old July 3, 2013
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Awesome:)

Wow! I loved it! It has some very good actors and actresses like Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove, and a bunch more! I loveed it and it is TOTALLY appropriate!

Adult Written bycourtwork July 3, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Great laughs for 8 or 9 and up

I like this movie. My husband and I laughed right along with our 10 year old. There are so many cleverly funny parts. The returning characters are the strongest: Gru, the minions, Agnes, the middle sister, and Dr. Nefario. There are some new characters who aren't quite as strong in my opinion. I love Kristen Wiig, but the character of Lucy is just OK for me. We didn't take our 6 year old, and I'm glad. As with most sequels, the ante is upped on violence, romance, and scariness. *Spoiler Alert* When the character of Lucy is introduced, she basically abducts Gru by force: tazering and smashing him into a car trunk, etc. It's supposed to be funny, but since we already love Gru and we don't yet know Lucy, I think this sequence might be confusing and upsetting for small kids. Later, she jokingly talks about how much she enjoyed doing it, which is weird. The minions become vibrating purple bad guys with giant teeth who eat everything they see, which is alarming for some small kids. I know my little one has a hard time digesting the previously funny cute good guys becoming a threat. I heard some distressed cries in the theater during this and some other climactic parts of the movie. The character of Margo, who is obviously still prepubescent, has a small romance with a boy in the mall. It's very tame, but delivers a message nonetheless. The boy is playing the cool guy who sweeps her off her feet (they sit at a table alone in his dad's restaurant and eat cookies) and he ultimately breaks her heart by flitting to another girl by the end of the movie. At the end she says, "boys stink" and Gru agrees. I don't like this portrayal for this age group (especially of boys). Boys are as innocent as girls at this age, if not more so; most are certainly not "players." Margo has a phone and is seen texting while in bed - it feels like the other girls are roughly the same age as in the original movie, but Margo is suddenly a teenager. Also in the romance department, Gru ultimately falls in love with Lucy, who admittedly evolves into a loving character, who cares for the authentic Gru. The character of the villain protagonist is colorful, but becomes big and scary at one point. All in all, we enjoyed the film. There are good conversations that can be had with slightly older kids about the aforementioned elements. I recommend this movie for parents with kids 8 or 9 and up, possibly younger, depending on your child.

What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byNZmamoose July 2, 2013
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Not the best message for kids

I took my 6 yr old, hesitantly, to this for a fund-raiser. There are some quite scary bits in it and she's been having nightmares every night since. She's also been role playing the violent parts. I know it's only cartoon violence, but I believe this promotes a message to children that I'd rather not endorse. I find it weird getting laughs from hurting others.

There were boyfriend-girlfriend themes which were inappropriate for younger viewers (the teacher at school has been asking parents to stop allowing their kids to watch this type of thing, as they role play it back at school).

I enjoyed the movie myself though because of the adult humour, but I think 9+yrs for this one.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism

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