Let’s face it, unless we were a bit bonkers none of us who encountered a bear loose on the streets would invite it into our home. There’d be hygiene concerns for one, then there’s the fact that, you know, they’re wild animals who could literally tear your face off.
Luckily, the Brown family are a bit bonkers, and Paddington isn’t the type of bear to tear your face off. He’s a lovely young cub who always looks for the good in everybody, and he’s back for another big screen outing to bring more much-needed joy to the world.
He’s not only now a fully-fledged member of the Brown family, he’s also become the glue – or perhaps marmalade would be a more suitable sticky noun – that holds his local community of Windsor Gardens together. Their trust is key to Paddington’s latest project, which involves performing numerous odd jobs to save enough money for a special gift – a pop-up book of London – for his Aunt Lucy’s upcoming 100th birthday.
All’s going well until the book is stolen, and he’s blamed for the theft. It’s off to prison for our little bear, where naturally Paddington brings out the good in the inmates – even big old Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson), who we initially feared might role-reverse and tear Paddington’s face off following a bit of a laundry accident.
As things start falling apart in their local neighbourhood, the Browns haven’t given up on the bear for which they care, doing their utmost to solve what becomes quite the classic mystery as to who took the pop-up book.
The original cast returns, with a who’s-who of great English acting talent bolstered by the presence of Hugh Grant as the dashing – if not washed-up – actor Phoenix Buchanan. He nails the perfect serving of ham, gleefully lapping up every scene he appears in. In a world as perfect as Paddington’s he’d be in Oscar contention.
Really, this movie is an absolute delight. With so many kids’ flicks nowadays existing only to peddle merchandise or get cheap laughs from cheaper gags, Paddington 2 takes a leaf out of the book marked “classic adventure movies” then Delivers a genuinely sweet and funny great time for kids and adults alike that never crosses the line into saccharine – or cynical.
If you’re after some truly joyous classic entertainment that still bears modern kid appeal this summer, park Mr and Mrs Bottycheek in front of Paddington 2 and revel in its many sweet delights.
In cinemas: December 21, 2017
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Hugh Grant, the voice of Ben Whishaw
Directed by: Paul King