I’m always wary heading into the cinema to see a ‘family’ movie, especially those featuring a CGI main character interacting with live human actors. Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Smurfs, The Scooby Doo movie – they’ve all done a pretty good job of destroying the genre, along with countless others. Even the better films struggle to engage the interest of both kids and adults. But Paddington is different. This sequel greatly improves on an already enjoyable first movie, and to be honest it’s pretty difficult for me to find fault with it at all!
The story is a simple one. Paddington wants to buy a very special present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, and sets his sights on buying her a lovely pop-up book of London landmarks, London being the one place she always wanted to visit. The book is quite expensive though, so Paddington sets about earning the money himself. Unfortunately things go very wrong, with Paddington ending up jailed for a crime he did not commit.
An all-star cast play a huge variety of strange and wonderful characters, but the best of them all is the villain of the story. Hugh Grant gets to ham things up hilariously as Phoenix Buchanan, an actor longing for the limelight once more, reduced instead to starring in dog food commercials. Visual gags are carefully staged, then perfectly executed and the whole movie provides the ideal mix of laughs, peril, warmth and charm. The perfect family movie!