Summer's always a great time for families to head to the movies, and this year is offering up some quality family friendly fare, like Pixar's prequel "Monsters University," and now Universal's sequel to the unforgettable 2010 adventure "Despicable Me." With the PG rating (for "rude humor and mild action" -– meaning butt jokes and lipstick tasers), it's clear there's nothing most kids can't handle, so what you really want to know is whether it's worth shelling out the cash to make it a family trip to the multiplex.
Before you go, make sure you've seen the original, which is both hilarious and touching. In this second installment, Gru (Steve Carell) is now a retired supervillain content to stay home, raise his three adopted girls Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher), and start a jams & jellies "legitimate business." But when the Anti-Villain League summons Gru to go undercover at a local mall to capture an evildoer, he returns to the world of villainy -– this time on the side of the law, with a partner by his side (Kristen Wiig).
Will Kids Love It? Not only are all three girls fabulous (smart and cool Margo, tomboyish ninja Edith, and so sweet you might cry little Agnes), but kids absolutely adore the banana-obsessed minions. No matter how old your kids are, they will crack up every time the minions are on screen (whether they're making fun of the last name Ramsbottom, squeaking "beedo-beedo-beedo" to signal an alarm sound, or trampling over each other to get to an ice cream truck). Younger audiences also find it comical that a grown dad, and former supervillain, is afraid to ask a woman on a date.
Will Parents Enjoy Themselves? OK, so it's not as innovative as the original (and it does include a good bit of Mexican stereotypes in the form of restaurant owner Eduardo, voiced by Benjamin Bratt), but the sequel is still plenty entertaining for parents. A particularly sidesplitting scene occurs when the minions perform a cover of All 4 One's '90s ballad "I Swear" -– in their own minion language. It's one of the funniest moments I've seen on screen all year. Plus, parents of young teens will appreciate the humor of watching Gru fumble his way through eldest daughter, Margo's, first crush.
Should You Pay the 3D Charge? Definitely -– especially if you have younger kids who will enjoy the 3D gimmicks. My 5-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter spent a good portion of the movie reaching out to "touch" the ice cream, confetti, and other goodies. Their delight will make the surcharges worth the cost.
Who Should Go? "Despicable Me 2" is a perfect film for families with kids of all ages. The minions are irresistible to everyone, from pre-schoolers who can't read yet to teens who still watch the occasional animated flick. This Fourth of July holiday, if your family is looking for a fun and bubbly visit to the movies, pick "Despicable Me 2." Don't forget to stay through the credits for even more minion mayhem.