LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Like "Monsters University," "Despicable Me 2" is sure to be a hit with audiences, lining the pockets of everyone at Universal and selling countless toys in the process. And like "Monsters University," "Despicable Me 2" is not as big a hit with critics as the original film - but most still embraced it with open arms.
In the sequel to the 2010 smash hit, reformed super-villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) has settled into suburban life, domesticated by three young girls he cares for on his own. His neighbor routinely tries to set him up with women. But it is Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wiig), an agent with the Anti-Villain League, who manages to catch his eye - and turn him into a spy.
Most critics deemed the new film endearing, sweet, fun and playful - even if Gru is a whole lot less despicable. The film has earned a 75 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences thus far have been far more rapturous, awarding it an 89 percent.
Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times praised it "as light on its feet, visually inventive and very fast with the repartee." She raved about the voice cast, describing Carell as "impossible not to like" and the scenes between Carell and Wiig as "electrifying."
TheWrap's Alonso Duralde, though critical of the film on the whole, similary praised Carell's "vocal combo of Bela Lugosi and Boris Badenov" while Variety's Justin Chang compared the film's "loony design, zany humor and impossible physics" to the work of iconic animation shop Hanna-Barbera and animators such as Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones.
Overall, Duralde found the film "neutered" and wrote that it stripped "nearly all of the characters of whatever sharp edges they once possessed."
The New York Times' Stephen Holden agreed, writing that the movie "crosses the line from sweet to saccharine" and combines too many flavors, along with extra sugar."
Yet there are two things everyone could agree on. For one, there are a lot of laughs. Holden, in an otherwise damning review, said the film was "consistently diverting and so cute you'll want to pet it."
"The minions are still wacky scene-stealers - and once again, we don't get nearly enough of them," Duralde wrote.
Hence Illumination Entertainment and Universal's next animated movie - a Minions spin-off.