Gru is raising three little girls named Agnes, Edith and Margo. He has turned in his villain's card and begun a serious business concern making jams and jellies. He wants to be able to be with his foster daughters, and the life of a villain does not lend itself to bedtime stories and breakfast tables.
But while he's reading to the children, an Arctic laboratory, the Top Secret Research Lab, is stolen. The Anti-Villain League, the AVL, needs someone who understands villains to figure out who the thief is. Gru is paired with a wildcard named Lucy Wilde. She is crazy, led by her instincts. He, however, is the one who figures out that Eduardo, the owner of the local cantina, is actually El Macho, the villainesty villain of them all now that Gru has gone domestic. El Macho's son has taken to Margo, and that's another reason that Gru wants the Macho men out of commission.
Gru becomes blinded by paternal concerns as well as by Lucy's magnetism and may have lost his way. But not for long.
The team from "Despicable Me" is back. Steve Carell voices Gru in an accent that echoes a bit of Boris Badinof. Russell Brand voices the scientist Dr. Nefario (and wait until the kiddies watching him grow up to discover how cleverly he's named); Steve Coogan does the other Brit's voice. Benjamin Bratt provides the Spanish accents for Eduardo and El Macho. The distaff side is led by Kristen Wiig as Lucy, with Miranda Cosgrove voicing Margo, Dana Gaier as Edith, and Elsie Kate Fisher as darling Agnes. Moises Arias, so good in "Kings of Summer," voices Antonio, and Kristen Schaal is the voice of Shannon.
The film's writers and directors, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, take the voices of many of the little, yellow, bespectacled minions, who serve at Gru's command. Coffin and Renaud have devised a delightful franchise. Just imagine Gru in drag as Grusinkerbelle, who comes to Agnes' birthday party when the real fairy flakes out. They give Lucy a great weapon in the lipstick taser, and they give the stores in the Paradise Mall names as silly as real stores sport. The best part of the 3-D version is the party toys that blow out right through the screen, it seems.
"Despicable Me 2" flattens in the middle as these things do, but it never reaches the level of despicableness.