Michael's Movie Grade: B
Fast paced and silly family fun and a sequel that tops the original.
All movie fans have learned when it comes to sequels that bigger does not always in fact equal better. Yet this sequel is both bigger and better. Still it is not the scope that makes this movie better. One thing that makes this film work better though is the role of Peter himself. While I found him likable and entertaining in the first film, I didn't relate to him the way I do here. He is put in a situation that all of us can understand and emphasize with. He has made mistakes in the past and is trying to get away from them, yet the whole world seems to see him as a "bad seed." With this it becomes easy to identify with Peter, because we all have wanted to prove ourselves to be something more than others think we are. McGregor is given a much better role here than he had in the first movie. He is much more interesting, funny and charming as a new father figure, who doesn't quite know how to be one. Here he even provides the film with its most heartfelt moments. What also makes the larger scale work is that the movie knows that it is cliché and both satirizes and embraces the cliché at the same time. These very clever jokes on sequels having to be bigger than the original are often the comedic highlights of the movie and the climatic scene put a big smile on face all the through. Yet the filmmakers manage to do this without ever treating the story like a joke, allowing us to get involved with the emotions of the story while laughing at the silliness of it all at the same time.
This movie feels like it has to constantly throw jokes at us. Because of this some really funny moments will sit side by side with jokes that fall completely flat. Unfortunately some of the jokes that fall flat become running jokes. Still this doesn't change that the jokes that work are genuinely funny and I found myself laughing quite a bit. But if there is a third film, I hope that very annoying rooster will be left out.
There is very little in this movie that hasn't been seen before and it is easy to see what will happen next. There are also a few subplots that simply go nowhere and the villain is not very interesting.
All in all this film provided me with just what I wanted from it, a really fun time at the movies.