Clean and Jerk

Despicable Me 2: written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio; directed by Peter Coffin and Chris Renaud; starring the voices of Steve Carell (Gru), Kristen Wiig (Lucy), Benjamin Bratt (Eduardo) and Russell Brand (Dr. Nefario) (2013): Fairly delightful animated romp sees reformed supervillain Gru enlisted by the Anti-Villain League to track down a new threat to world peace. The animation is clean and appealing, and the voicework by Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig especially is top-notch. There’s a bit of dragginess in the middle, but nothing fatal. And boy, the little girls and the minions are cute. Recommended.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Collected 2000): This early collection of published and spoken-word essays by David Sedaris divides into two sections, one dealing mostly with his childhood and pre-writing life, the other with his adventures living in a small town in France. It’s all extremely funny and occasionally moving, though Sedaris doesn’t ever lean towards sentimentality (or even sentiment, for that matter), preferring sarcasm and pointed observations directed as much at himself as at anyone else in his circle of family, friends, or acquaintances. His is a distinctive comic voice right from the beginning. Recommended.

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