Dir: Paul King. Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Joanna Lumley, Noah Taylor, Jessica Hynes, Madeleine Harris, Eileen Atkins, Ben Miller, Tom Conti, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Samuel Joslin. PG cert, 95 mins
Paddington was uncommonly charming and Paddington 2 is very nearly as good. That said, for approximately nine minutes, you may have minor concerns. Will this film merely coast on the cosy lovability that made its forebear (sorry) such a joy? How can the bar be nudged up, and who’s going to do it?
Everyone’s favourite ursine Peruvian immigrant left his debut in such a warm and happy place, there’s a nagging lack of comic friction as we dive back in. The Brown family, living in their perfect multicultural haven of Windsor Gardens, are trying out some new eccentric hobbies, are they? Forgive us, makers of Paddington 2, for a light tapping of feet.
Impatience is dispelled for good as the plot kicks in, and it turns out – with all due respect to returning leads Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, not to mention Ben Whishaw’s cuddly vocal work – to be all about the guest stars. The first set-piece to get dear, disaster-prone Paddington spinning from the rafters involves a barbershop, a prone Tom Conti as a pompous judge, and a set of vibrating clippers. We start to feel in safe hands once again, but it takes this burst of skittering chaos to do it.