Padding­ton re­turns for an­other en­ter­tain­ing ad­ven­ture

Fingal Independent - - ENTERTAINMENT - PADDING­TON 2 (PG)

The bare ne­ces­si­ties of a ful­fill­ing life will come to you if you fol­low the paw prints of Michael Bond’s beloved Peru­vian bear.

So sayeth di­rec­tor Paul King’s un­abashedly sweet, whole­some and crowd-pleas­ing se­quel that repli­cates the ir­re­sistible charm of the 2014 film, which in­tro­duced the duf­fel-coat clad hero to the big screen.

Padding­ton 2 is a lip-smack­ing, tear-jerk­ing de­light for au­di­ences of all ages, which pro­motes com­pas­sion and un­der­stand­ing as the foun­da­tions of a truly great Britain.

It’s a res­o­lutely old-fash­ioned mes­sage of hope and com­mu­nity spirit, and a nim­ble script co-writ­ten by Si­mon Farn­aby never de­vi­ates from trum­pet­ing the cen­tral char­ac­ter’s unerring op­ti­mism in an era of para­noia and self­ish de­sires.

The pan­tomime vil­lain this time is a schem­ing the­atri­cal ham, played to the comic hilt by Hugh Grant, who dons a wim­ple and knight’s ar­mour to steal hid­den trea­sure that should have been claimed by an an­ces­tor.

The ac­tor mer­ci­lessly pokes fun at him­self – note the floppy-haired por­trait from glory days in Four Wed­dings and A Fu­neral on the an­tag­o­nist’s man­tel­piece.

Padding­ton (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is hap­pily in­stalled in the at­tic of 32 Wind­sor Gar­dens, fam­ily home of fuddy-duddy in­sur­ance asses­sor Henry Brown (Hugh Bon­neville), his free-spir­ited wife Mary (Sally Hawkins) and their chil­dren, Judy (Madeleine Har­ris) and Jonathan (Sa­muel Joslin).

Dur­ing a visit to an­tiques dealer Mr Gru­ber (Jim Broad­bent), Padding­ton un­earths an old ‘pop­ping book’ of Lon­don, which would make the per­fect present for Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton).

Alas, the rare one-of-a-kind tome is ex­pen­sive.

Un­per­turbed, Padding­ton cleans win­dows for neigh­bours and wields a broom in a bar­ber shop to meet the price tag.

Hi­lar­i­ously vain, fad­ing ac­tor Phoenix Buchanan (Grant) steals the rare edi­tion and Padding­ton is wrongly sen­tenced to 10 years for ‘grand theft and griev­ous bar­berly harm.’.

Be­hind bars, Padding­ton meets jail­bird brute Knuck­les Mcginty (Bren­dan Glee­son), who ‘don’t do noth­ing for no one for noth­ing’.

The bear’s in­nate good­ness weak­ens Knuck­les’ re­solve and they col­lab­o­rate in the prison can­teen to serve home­made con­fec­tions to in­mates.

Mean­while, the Browns vow to clear Padding­ton’s name and Mary iden­ti­fies Phoenix as a prime sus­pect.

‘Ac­tors are some of the most evil, de­vi­ous peo­ple on the planet,’ agrees house­keeper Mrs Bird (Julie Wal­ters). ‘They lie for a liv­ing.’

Padding­ton 2 is a de­light­fully en­ter­tain­ing romp, dis­tin­guished by glo­ri­ous set pieces in­clud­ing a won­der­ful fan­tasy se­quence in­side the pages of the an­tique pop-up book.

Colour­ful pro­duc­tion de­sign is al­most as vivid as the per­for­mances in­clud­ing a rogu­ish turn from Glee­son and phys­i­cal prat­falls aplenty cour­tesy of Bon­neville.

Once again, Whishaw’s warm, sooth­ing vo­cal per­for­mance tugs our heart­strings, ad­her­ing to the sage words of Aunt Lucy: ‘If you’re kind and po­lite, ev­ery­thing will come right.’.

King’s fleet-footed se­quel comes right with a mar­malade-smeared flour­ish.

RAT­ING : 8/10

Padding­ton 2 is a lip-smack­ing, tear-jerk­ing de­light for au­di­ences of all ages.

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