Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Punch Out: Despicable Me 2 versus Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

In This Corner:  in the day-glow yellow trunks, hailing from Gru's Secret Lab ... Despicable Me 2
Main Takeaway:  While not as sweet and heartfelt as the original, this sequel hits all of the right notes in bringing back the gang, introducing new characters and mixing it up with a wacky world of spycraft.  Come for the generic storyline of Gru and new partner in spy Lucy going against bad guy El Macho but definitely stay for the minion mischief.
Verdict:  Matinee.  3D not necessary but nice to have.

  • Great chemistry between Gru and Lucy
  • Good father/son relationship between Gru and Dr. Nefario
  • The girls (Margo, Edith and Agnes) add to the fun, especially the boyfriend angle with Margo
  • Minions (lots of them)
  • The edginess that Gru had in the first film is somewhat neutered in this film.  Responsible dad now?
  • Could use more minion madness

Summary:  Despicable Me was a surprise hit for me.  I didn't see it at the movie theaters nor on rental.  Instead, it was at a school event and my daugthers had a blast watching it.  What surprised me is how much the character Gru (warning:  intended pun) grew on me.  His transformation from evil bad guy and good bad guy, thanks to his relationship with the girls, made the ending of the original movie all the more endearing.  For DM2, we see Gru going from good bad guy to bland good guy.  He's a thoughtful father with a flair for gadgets (what dad doesn't have a flair for gadgets?) but finds himself bored at a hum-dum life of hosting princess birthday parties.  Enter Lucy, a bungling spy who enlists Gru's superbad skills to catch the evil El Macho.  There are lots of action to go around for Lucy and Gru, as well as his minions.  What could have been a potential sequel snoozefest with its generic storyline, Despicable Me 2 elevates itself to fun status by having the minions be part of the overall story arc, pushing the film to a fine level of inspired mayhem and mischief.

In This Corner:  in the tomato sauce stained trunks ... Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2
Main Takeaway:  It's like going to a buffet restaurant and getting a second helping of something that you kind of liked during the first buffet pass.  It may not be fine cuisine but it hits the spot.  Afterwards, you kind of wonder if that second helping was really necessary.  
Verdict:  Rental.  3D not ncessary but nice to have.

  • Same cheerful bunch from the first movie is back for some more foodie action
  • Good father/son relationship between Flint and his father Tim
  • Interesting choice for the bad guy (some weird fusion between Walt Mossberg and Steve Jobs)
  • Plenty of food puns to keep your pun stomach full
  • Middle section felt bloated.  Could have gone on a diet and lost a couple of minutes
  • Some of the conflict between Flint and the group, especially with Sam, felt needlessly forced.  Could have gone on a diet and lost a couple of minutes
  • The Chester V character (Walt+Steve) didn't seem like an ideal bad guy.  He's evil but more like corporate evil.  Didn't need to go on a diet since he was wafer thin
  • Plenty of food puns to overload your pun stomach
  • Did not make me hungry

Summary:  I saw the first movie at the friend's home and didn't think much about it.  So I was surprised to hear about the sequel.  It kind of popped out of nowhere.  Servicable, with a story that was straightforward but engaging enough to keep me interested.  If anything, the lack of a fleshed out story was made up by sheer spectacle of the food-imals.  Each introduction to a new species of food-imal felt like something out of a Pokemon game.  "Look!  There's a flamango!!!  Oh!  Shrimpanzee!  Oh where oh where is the cocktail sauce?"  All in all, a movie the kids will like but parents may have felt that, in the end, it was nothing more than empty calories.

Judge's Score (higher is better)
Despicable Me 2
Pros:  4
Cons:  2
Summary:  4
Swing:  4
Total:  4

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2
Pros:  4
Cons:  5
Summary:  3
Swing:  3
Total:  3

Winner:  Descpicable Me 2

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