Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Hugh Grant upset by son

Hugh Grant upset by son

(When the sequel begins, Buchanan is best known for a terribly cheesy commercial in which he wore a full-body animal costume and extolled the virtues of canned dog food.) Early in the film, the heroic and kind bear Paddington inadvertently alerts Buchanan to his recent discovery of a pop-up book that functions both as a secret treasure map and features heavily in Buchanan's ancestry. All of which makes him most welcome.

Paddington Brown (Ben Whishaw) wants to get the ideal birthday present for his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton), and he thinks he's found it when he comes across a pop-up book featuring landmarks of London.

Last time, we saw Paddington (perfectly voiced with gentle innocence by Ben Wishaw) tumble his way from Peru into London and find a home with the Brown family (the always delightful Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, along with the required children). But not only is this pop-up book Paddington desires expensive, it's also the catalyst for a string of events that land him in prison. The night before he's about to reach his goal, the Brown family visits a carnival where they meet washed-up actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant). But as for some people, they want to ruin Paddington.

It's hard to expect people to change just by watching this movie, but children growing up watching this kind of cinema is a very healthy habit that could actually cause a real societal change 20 years from now. 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. Furthermore, because of this, each member feels like less of a distinct personality; during the opening credits Paddington gives a swift narration getting us up to speed on what they each have been up to, but it surprisingly becomes irrelevant until being mentioned again in the ending.

So what's new with Paddington 2?

Of course, if "Paddington 2" were mere eye candy, that wouldn't automatically make it special.

Back at the prison, Paddington has made the inmates much more friendly and comfortable but has trouble keeping faith when the Browns can't prove he isn't guilty. So Paddington decides to get a job to pay for it. There are slapstick hijinks and silly scenarios aplenty, but at its heart "Paddington 2" has something serious to say about making the world a better place through daily acts of kindness.

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

His new family is made up of nice people: Father Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville), mother Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins), his brother Jonathan Brown (Samuel Joslin), and Sister Judy Brown (Madeleine Harris). Here, only Grant and Gleeson get really good lines. You don't feel beaten up by the filmmakers' attempts to engage a variety of audience quadrants; Paddington 2 is a lover, not a fighter...

Paddington 2 is not only as warmhearted and well-crafted as its predecessor, it's the rare sequel that improves on the first installment. Paddington can be himself, an anthropomorphic bear everyone loves and indulges, because he's lifted by a brilliant cast. Somehow, "Paddington 2" is so sweet and moving and amusing and imaginative and lovely that it's impossible not to be charmed by this thing.

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

Paddington 2 has been rated PG for action and some mild rude humor. But, let's face it, even Paddington can warm the hearts of spine-chilling prison mates with his sweet-as-marmalade catchphrase, "If we're kind and polite the world will be right".

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