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With Hugh Grant, 'Paddington 2' is simply wonderful

13 Janvier 2018

London's favorite bear "Paddington" is springing excitement all around the world with this fun sequel.

In total honesty, no one expected director Paul King's Paddington to make any sort of a splash upon its release in 2015. It's Paddington's impenetrable spirit, his striving to do right by the world, to "always see the good in people", even those who wish him harm, that is the biggest wish-fulfillment of 2018.

Paddington gets a mission when he spots a London pop-up book at an antique store that he thinks would be flawless to buy his Aunt Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton), who is still in Peru and has always dreamed of going to London (pretty thoughtful for an anthropomorphized bear).

"Paddington 2" follows the worldwide success of the first film and brings us back into Paddington's world and his life as he's settled in with the Browns in London. Since it's not every day a bear turns 100, Paddington decides the ideal gift to send would be a revered pop-up book of London, except there's a problem; the change stuck inside his ear isn't going to be enough to cover the expensive cost.

Meanwhile, a new villain is introduced in the form of the Brown's neighbor, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), a narcissistic entertainer and master of disguise who turns out to be the guy who stole the pop-up book. Another bright spot here is Brendan Gleeson as Knuckles McGinty, an irascible jailhouse cook whose heart is softened by Paddington's famous marmalade sandwiches. If you have nieces and nephews, take them. This sends a message of community, togetherness and friendship. It's all beautifully made, delivering wondrous visual effects and magically conceived sequences that are often more impressive than those of films thrice this scale. On the surface level, the script by King and Simon Farnaby (Yonderland) preaches generosity and kindness towards others in a way that audiences of all ages can understand and appreciate, all while serving up a tightly woven narrative full of amusing and touching moments alike. Brace yourself to drown into every furrow of Paddington's brow or feel the upward curve of your lips when the camera pans into his black nose that's irresistibility tactile.

Paddington 2 is certified fresh on Rottentomatoes with 100% approval rating. His eyes are especially "real" and express all his emotions beautifully. Now we slip back to see that Paddington continues to inspire joy in the Browns and everyone around him. However, the book is an antique and costs £1,000, so Paddington resolves to get a window washing job so he can afford the book.

Dialogue ceases to matter when "Paddington 2" shows close-ups of its animated bear.

None-too-subtle clues point to neighborhood fixture Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), an egotistical actor who has recently been reduced to making dog-food commercials, as the real culprit. The same goes for the returning and new crew members here who fill out the film's impressive supporting cast.

Sally Hawkins also gets a nice spotlight as the eager-to-believe matriarch who is compelling enough to make you really trust that she's possibly gotten a lead from a newsstand parrot about who framed Paddington. Grant tells us how he was approached for the role with a letter saying he'd be ideal for the role of a washed up actor.

When you peel away everything else, "Paddington 2's" story is pretty routine - even predictable.

Paddington 2 Movie PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros. It gives Paddington hope and the desire to become a free bear. Paddington 2 is a character that we all can relate to from tots to teens and beyond.

Now playing: Opens nationwide on Friday, Jan. 12.

Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor.

With Hugh Grant, 'Paddington 2' is simply wonderful