Pop-Up Books, Polite Prisoners, and Paddington, Too!

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Paddington 2

BEN WHISHAW returns to lend his voice to the delightfully courteous and thoughtful-to-a-fault Paddington Brown, a talking bear who lives in London with the Brown family -- Henry (HUGE BONNEVILLE), Mary (SALLY HAWKINS), Judy (MADELAINE HARRIS) and Jonathan (SAMUEL JOSLIN).

Paddington's Aunty Lucy (IMELDA STAUNTON) is having an important birthday coming up, and Paddington wants to get her the perfect present. He finds it in an antique shop -- a pop-up book of all the London landmarks, created by a very famous carnival owner. Alas, the book is very expensive, and Paddington sets out to earn the money to buy the book.

The book also happens to be a treasure map, a secret known only to one, a ham actor named Phoenix Buchanan (played to the over-the-top hilt by HUGH GRANT), and he's not about to let it slip his grasp as it's the key to financing his one-man show and a return to stardom. He sets out to steal the book, and when Paddington tries to stop him, the little bear gets nabbed for the robbery himself and thrown into prison!

While the Brown family retains faith in Paddington's innocence, Phoenix sets off on a crime spree. Using his array of theatrical disguises, he visits each landmark in the pop-up book, finding the hidden clue at each location which will ultimately lead him to the treasure. Meanwhile, Paddington's optimistic attitude and openness wins over the hardened criminals, and he ends up revamping the prison cafeteria into a delightful cafe experience with tasty treats. Bolstering his spirits is his belief that the Browns will always be there for him. But when they miss a visit because they are chasing clues to prove Paddington's innocense, he believes they have forgotten him and joins the others in their plan to break out of jail, with the intent to clear his name.

Loaded with charm and gentle comedy, PADDINGTON 2 boasts returning stars like PETER CAPALDI as the curmudgeonly, law-and-order Mr. Curry, and features delightful  supporting roles from JIM BROADBENT, BRENDAN GLEESON, DAME EILEEN ATKINS, JOANNA LUMLEY and RICHARD AYOADE. It's a heartwarming family film that the entire family can enjoy.

4.5 / 5.0