When it comes to Despicable Me 2, it's good to be bad.
Universal's sequel to its 2010 animated hit is in theaters and finds everyone's favorite villain Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, not only juggling his new responsibilities as a single dad, but also going to work undercover for the Anti-Villain League to stop a new super criminal.
And based on the mostly favorable reviews and a 74 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, the studio looks certain to do bang-up business at the box office over the Fourth of July and extended holiday weekend.
Here's a sampling of what the critics are saying:
• "Make no mistake. The sequel to 2010's worldwide half-billion-dollar-grossing animated blockbuster is fun. It's cheerful. It's lollipop colorful. Best of all, it features lots of Minion mischief, which guarantees plenty of laughs," praised The Seattle Times, though noting, "But what it doesn't have is an edge."
• "It's breezy and affable without ever going completely soft," lauded The Village Voice, adding that "there are so many ways Despicable Me 2 could have gone wrong, and so many things it does right."
• "Even with slightly heavier issues, like its predecessor, Despicable Me 2 is light on its feet, visually inventive and very fast with the repartee. It requires actors who can pull off the many peppery lines at warp speed and in that the film is lucky with its voice cast," extolled The Los Angeles Times.
• "The beguiling basics are still there, including the goofy gadgets and sly references to other films," opined Peter Howell of the Toronto Star.
• "As in the original Despicable, masterful physical comedy is what raises this animated pic so far above most of its competitors. "Sure, it's not as novel as the first time we were here, but directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud stay true to the clever, slapstick vibe," offered the New York Post, which hailed Gru's hilarious Minions as "a large part of the magic."
• On the other hand, Entertainment Weekly liked the Minions as well, calling them "the best in the movie," but panned the rest with a C-grade, railing: "By the end, every child in the audience will want his or her own monster-minion toy. Adults will just regret the way that Despicable Me 2 betrays the original film's devotion to bad-guy gaiety."