They’ll talk all the way through it, they’ll ramp up the cinema bill and the sophisticated humour will be lost on them, so leave the kids at home and instead treat your other half to the deliriously brilliant Paddington sequel. My argument below.
SO OFTEN with cinema for younger viewers, an emphasis is placed on slapstick and mayhem in order to hold the restless eye of youth.
The odd time, however, something comes along that has been lovingly, meticulously crafted to mine the very essence of childishness, your Toy Stories and Finding Nemos and what have you. Do that, and no demographic is immune.
This was precisely what Paddington pulled off in 2014 when it took Michael Bond’s childhood staple and spruced it up for a new era. It did huge box office business through sheer quality alone. Incredibly, this sequel is even better again and marks director Paul King and his co-writer Simon Farnaby (Mindhorn) as a formidable partnership.
Still in leafy London bliss with the Brown family, Paddington spots a mysterious book in an antique shop. He decides this will make an ideal gift for Aunt Lucy and duly bungles his way through odd jobs to save up for it, only to be framed for the item’s robbery. The culprit? Hugh Grant’s superbly narcissistic thespian who wants a treasure map hidden inside the book. Behind bars, Paddington is met with rough inmates and Brendan Gleeson’s grizzled cook. Genius ensues.
The CGI bear (voiced by Ben Wishaw) is almost a side-act next to the cast’s dexterous mugging – Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins (as Mr and Mrs Brown), Grant (a very good sport about sending himself up), Gleeson etc. Bellylaughs come thick and fast but there is enough magic and heart here to grant it Christmas-classic status.
In fact, between its athletic wit and overflowing invention, Paddington 2 is arguably too good for kids. Maybe consider booking a babysitter for this one.
First published in the Sunday Independent