Movie review: “Despicable Me ”? More like predictable meh

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From the July 4, 2013 edition

Now that the Golden Age of Pixar is starting to peter out — “Cars” was a bad sign of misfires to come — other animation studios are upping their game. For example, 2010’s “Despicable Me.”

It was a fun take on the life of a villain thanks to some great voice work by Steve Carell and a heart-warming tale of the three adoptive daughters that unexpectedly changed him.

The sequel, on the other hand, feels like it could use a little more time baking.

Gru (Carell) has traded villain life for dad life, until he is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to battle a baddie because, you know, it takes one to know one.

Obviously a sequel isn’t going to feel as fresh as the original, but “Despicable Me 2” is actually cause for disappointment.

Kids will still be charmed, in part because of the liberal sprinkling of the little yellow Minions that were show-stealers in the first film. (They’ll be getting their own movie in 2014, too.)

But the meandering, unfocused story had me reaching for the Adderall. There’s a Gru love story with a character voiced by Kristen Wiig and an underdeveloped villain (I guess?) that keep this one from coming close to the first.

They don’t all have to be Pixar-level classics, but this one could have used a simpler story … and maybe some more Minions.