Sunday, 20 May, 2018

'Paddington 2' is delightful counterprogramming for our divisive times

"Paddington 2 opens in theaters Jan. 12
Lora Ball | 13 January, 2018, 03:23

It gives me enormous pleasure to say that if you were anxious Paddington 2 would fail to repeat that feat, you're absolutely wrong. Paddington 2 is a victor.

These actors all yield the floor to Hugh Grant's delightful performance as Phoenix Buchanan, a vain thespian who lives near the Browns in London. When a thief steals the book, Paddington is fingered (pawed) as the culprit, and that's all the spark needed for everyone to doubt the character of this marmalade-foraging foreigner. King came from the world of offbeat comedy fare like The Mighty Boosh TV show and the 2009 film Bunny and the Bull when he first adapted the late Michael Bond's beloved creation for live-action, and his idiosyncratic sensibilities blended surprisingly well with the world of Paddington Bear.

Reuniting numerous original film's cast while welcoming those in new roles, PADDINGTON 2 stars Golden Globe nominee Hugh Bonneville (DOWNTON ABBEY), Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (BLUE JASMINE), three-time Golden Globe nominee Brendan Gleeson (THE GUARD, INTO THE STORM, IN BRUGES), Oscar nominee Julie Walters (BILLY ELLIOT, EDUCATING RITA), Oscar victor Jim Broadbent (IRIS), and Oscar victor Peter Capaldi (short, FRANZ KAFKA'S IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE), with Golden Globe and BAFTA Award victor Hugh Grant (FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL), and BAFTA victor Ben Whishaw (THE HOLLOW CROWN) as THE VOICE of Paddington. But even more so than its predecessor, the film delivers a positive message that is now, more than ever, extremely timely. As the best family friendly movies do, Paddington 2 succeeds at being an entertaining romp that never calls excess attention to its own thoughtfulness.

"Paddington 2" throws a lot at our plaintive hero, and a lot at the audience.

As director and co-writer of the sequel, King is also a returning star of the series.

The British humor is underscored by all sorts of veteran actors, from Grant and Broadbent to Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, who play Mr. and Mrs.

Having won over the hearts and minds of the Brown family in his status somewhere between "foster son" and "family dog", Paddington is now a town fixture. Are you missing a little kindness and wonder in your life?

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At the same time Paddington is in prison, his adopted family (led by Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville) try to clear their bear's good name and get him back home. Here, only Grant and Gleeson get really good lines.

Most conversations involving Sally Hawkins these days will understandably revolve around her mesmerizing, almost wordless performance in the acclaimed drama "The Shape of Water", which in all likelihood will land the veteran British actress her first Best Actress Oscar nomination. All of which makes him most welcome.

Paddington 2 is sweet without being diabetic and endearing without being manipulative.

The special event with The Moms gave families the opportunity to see the film ahead of its release in America on Friday, and guests received a Paddington plush toy and pop-up book all about London.

Paddington 2 is now playing in US theaters nationwide.

Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor. "As evidenced in the first film, director Paul King knows his way around a comedic set piece - giving us just enough information to build anticipation for the big comic blowups".

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