Everyone’s favorite bear is back for seconds in this delightful sequel, which follows the marmalade-loving Peruvian bear who can teach us a thing or two about courtesy and kindness. A perennial family classic, “Paddington” was released in 2014 and followed a young bear who came to London in search of a home and family and touched on ideas of tolerance and acceptance. Fast-forward to this follow-up flick, he’s now happily settled with the Brown family in West London and is a hugely popular member of the local community. But all that soon changes when he is falsely accused of theft and winds up in prison and it becomes a toilsome quest to clear his name.
Paul King (“Paddington”) returns to helm this heartwarming sequel, which once again follows the antics of the little bear whose perfect manners and good intentions frequently lead to comical mishaps and moments of chaos.
It’s a funnier and more sophisticated sequel with the addition of the villainous Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), a one-time major stage star who is behind Paddington’s demise and “Knuckles” McGinty (Brendan Gleeson), a crazed and feared inmate Paddington, (voiced by Ben Whishaw) has to charm. Once he’s tried and convicted and lands behind bars, he finds he has his paws full dealing with several eccentric inmates and some of those prison scenes provide the film’s funniest moments.
While it is light, fun and entertaining, the storyline never loses sight of its theme of judgment. Once again, there’s a great injection of a West Indian calypso band, which clearly remind us of the immigrants’ experience in London. There are also several moments of unbridled physical comedy, for in one scene, Paddington runs into unforeseen ladder problems while working as a window cleaner and in another, he gives an unsuspecting customer a disastrous haircut while being mistaken for a barber. Much credit is due to the solid, clean and cohesive script, which has the right mix of wit and innocence to appeal to both children and adults.
This duffel coat- wearing, marmalade sandwich-loving iconic character, Paddington Bear, was first introduced in Michael Bond’s 1958 book A Bear Called Paddington and has been captivating British readers since. Showcasing great London landmarks from Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Hyde Park, Windsor Gardens, Paddington Station to Portobello Road, it’s a charming sequel with heart and humor.
The cast also includes Richard Ayoade, Joanna Lumley, Peter Capaldi, Tom Conti and Ben Miller and at 105 minutes, it’s not too long, not too short, but just perfectly right.
“Paddington 2” releases in U.S. theaters Friday
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. She can be reached at email@example.com