Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins
Director: Paul King
Running Time: 104 mins
Paddington 2 is a British film and the sequel to Paddington. Now settled in at his home in London with the Brown family, Paddington Bear finds himself caught up in a major crime investigation after a valuable book that he wanted to give his aunt for her birthday is stolen.
Despite feeling like yet another tourist video for London, Paddington 2 pulls out all the stops to be one of the most delightfully funny family films you’ll have seen in years. With a hilarious screenplay that combines cute family humour with simply bizarre and quirky gags, the movie will keep you laughing throughout, added to by a series of wonderful performances that exaggerate the cute and cuddly nature of the film, but make for an even more enjoyable watch in doing so.
Let’s start off with just why this film is so funny. The last Paddington movie was a real surprise, and had some great laughs throughout, but Paddington 2 goes absolutely insane with the comedy. That’s not to say it’s pure slapstick at every moment, but rather than being the family blocbuster that the first film often was, this sequel is fully aware of itself in all the right ways, and that allows it to go all out with some brilliant humour from start to finish.
So, whether it’s seeing Paddington Bear caught up in a major crime investigation, the endlessly bizarre nature of the human characters’ acceptance of him in their community, the unlikely relationships that the bear strikes up with convicted criminals, the completely over-the-top action sequences, and Hugh Grant’s hilariously weird character, this film is always full of life and joy, and with the perfect combination of bizarre humour and simply entertaining gags that you won’t be able to stop smiling at any point.
I can’t emphasise enough how much this film made me laugh. It’s not the sort of story that you’d think would make for endless giggles, but thanks to the ingenious screenplay from Paul King and Simon Farnaby, complete with such clever gags and humour throughout, there’s something here to make absolutely everyone laugh, and in an even more satisfying way than even the best family films manage.
Moving on, the performances here are another bright spark that add to the fun and games of it all. Ben Whishaw gives another very pleasant voice performance as Paddington himself, while Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and all of the returning cast members feel all the more settled into their roles, accepting the cheesy and cute nature of the family film atmosphere, but still going along brilliantly with the sequel’s more out-there humour, which was great to see.
And then there’s Hugh Grant, who’s easily the stand-out of the film. Offering up a performance that’s a lot more entertaining than Nicole Kidman’s relatively simpler villain character last time out, Grant is hilarious from start to finish, thanks to an endlessly energetic and often even manic performance that pokes fun at his own stereotypical roles as well as goes all out with a campy and hilariously diverse range of acting, making him an absolute joy to watch at every moment.
Credit here also has to go to director Paul King, who does a fantastic job with this movie. Paddington 2 is first and foremost a family film, but it’s not the sort of film which feels like it’s only got kids at the centre of its mind. Instead, it’s an equally entertaining watch for younger viewers and adults, with comedy for both audiences seamlessly intertwined together, and making for a fully satisfying and consistently enjoyable watch.
If I had any complaints about this movie, I would still say that it goes a little heavy on the quaint London aesthetic, just like the previous film. That’s okay when it comes to matching the film’s cute and cuddly atmosphere, but it is often a very cheesy and occasionally frustrating atmosphere that makes the film often feel more like a tourist advert than anything else.
Overall, however, I loved Paddington 2. Fantastically silly and endlessluy hilarious with its brilliant brand of comedy, and furthered by yet another delightful atmosphere and story for families to enjoy, as well as some great performances, it’s a film that will keep you smiling from beginning to end, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.0.