Padding­ton’s jail­house rocks!

PERU’S MOST FA­MOUS BEAR WINDS UP IN JAIL FOR A CRIME HE DIDN’T COM­MIT IN THIS DELIGHTUL SE­QUEL

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - The Guide -

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 crowd­pleas­ing 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 old­fash­ioned 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-akind 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 up some 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.

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