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Excuse to mint Minions.

Despicable Me 2 (3D) 98mins UONE of the biggest surprises of 2010 was the box office bonanza known as Despicable Me, taking a monstrous half a billion bucks worldwide.

I say surprise because it must rank as one of the most pedestrian animations to hit cinemas in yonks.

And such is the case with this inevitable sequel that's sure to please kids - but almost nobody else.

Steve Carell returns as the voice of ex-criminal Gru, who's recruited by Lucy Wilde (Kristen "Bridesmaids" Wiig) to spy for the Anti-Villain League and bring down an evil mastermind who's developed a serum to turn people into monsters.

The voices of Steve Coogan, Russell Brand and Ken Jeong also feature.

As far as storylines go, we're hardly in groundbreaking territory, something you suspect the makers realised, hence their decision to put Gru's Minions front and centre.

These are the yellow creatures - somewhat resembling Tic Tacs - who provided most of the laughs in part one.

Here, however, they're overused, with their nonsensical babbling swiftly going from endearing to plain irritating.

Still, the film deserves some credit for not merely rehashing the earlier ideas. There's an enjoyable romance between Gru and Lucy and an amusing scene where Gru, wearing a bad wig, goes on a disastrous date.

The animation is also impressive and the 3D effective.

Despicable Me 2 won't be giving the animators at DreamWorks any sleepless nights but, if you're a parent of young children, this is a foolproof way of plugging an afternoon gap.

10-second review Best quote: "Gru's back in the game with cool cars, gadgets and weapons." Best bit: Impressive animation and good use of 3D.

Worst bit: The excess of Minions. If you liked... Igor, Hotel Transylvania, Monsters Vs Aliens... you'll like this Zimmer of hope for old timers Stand Up Guys 95mins 15 THIS crime caper marks the first time that Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin have shared the same screen.

But despite the pedigree, it's not quite the movie event you'd hope for, although it makes for easy viewing.

Pacino plays ageing gangster Val who, after a 28-year stretch, sets about making up for lost time, unaware that his old pal Doc (Walken) is under orders to kill him to settle an outstanding Mob score.

Arkin plays former getaway driver Hirsch, who the pair spring from a nursing home for a job.

A melding of The Bucket List, Tough Guys and Red, Stand Up Guys gets most of its laughs from Val's attempt to adjust to modern living.

The set-up's familiar but the cast manage to lift it into three-star territory.

Plot's identity crisis Hummingbird 100mins WHILE he hardly breaks into new territory, Jason Statham's latest film at least gives him a chance to act, in between beating the hell out of bad guys.

Britain's premiere hardman is homeless former Marine Joey Jones, who takes refuge in an apartment and, discovering the owner is away for months, assumes his identity and sets about avenging those who killed Jones's girlfriend.

At heart, Hummingbird is a sombre movie touching on themes of those who have slipped beneath society's radar and the post-traumatic stress suffered by veterans.

However, the mayhem and the message never really come together, making this a movie with an identity crisis.

Hollywood's having the last laugh This Is The End 107mins 15 IF recent comedies have made you throw your hands in the air and pray for the apocalypse, take heart.

Here's a comedy about the apocalypse funny enough to restore your faith in humour.

Goofy, raunchy and wonderfully daft, it provides as many, if not more laughs than the first Hangover film.

Actors Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jay Baruchel, playing themselves, are at a housewarming party just as the world comes to an end.

Holed up in a basement as LA collapses around them, the stars, plus pals Emma Watson, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Rihanna, await The End with a bong, lots of booze and attempts to make a home video.

Even sillier than it sounds, what might have been a narrow Hollywood in-joke might actually be the comedy of the summer.

The 'Tic Tac' heroes are back in their droves for a sequel to the monster hit that will delight kids if no-one else


PALS Walken, Arkin and Pacino

END CREDITS Hill with Rihanna

SLAPSTICK Gru messes up with agent Lucy

LITTLE FUN The Minions' endless babble is tiring

ON A MISSION Gru and Dr Nefario rally the Minions
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 28, 2013
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