'Paddington 2' Review: More Charm Than You Can Bear

Mum's the word Hugh Bonneville looks dashing in a green three-piece suit as he promoted Paddington 2 with The Moms at their New York screening

Cynics will scoff, but it encapsulates Paddington 2. Now there's Hugh Grant, playing a faded stage star who aims to bankroll his comeback through the theft of a rare, old pop-up book of London landmarks, which he knows contains secret clues to a hidden treasure. When a thief steals the book, Paddington is fingered (pawed) as the culprit, and that's all the spark needed for everyone to doubt the character of this marmalade-foraging foreigner. Apart from Hugh Grant, who plays the self-centred Phoenix Buchanan with elan, it is Brendan Gleeson as the violent cook Knuckles who leaves an impact on screen.

The key to 2014's winsome Paddington and now its sequel, Paddington 2, is the interaction between real human actors in a live-action feature and an irresistible CGI bear.

Like its first edition, this chapter of adventures begins by plunging through the cloudy Peruvian jungle giving an insight to Paddington's pre-London days, before settling to the present-day narrative where its predecessor left off with Paddington in the Notting Hill abode of the Brown family, adorably headed by Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville. You can check out our Paddington 2 interviews in the player below. A feature-length film needs three acts of plot and, to that end, this franchise has introduced villains to Paddington's universe.

In this one from director Paul King, the lovable and very polite marmalade sandwich-eating bear is a full-fledged member of the community after moving in with the Brown family who had rescued him from Paddington Station in London.

Ditching the tie for the more casual event, Hugh posed alongside Melissa, Denise, and their kids as he promoted the kids film. "Mrs. Brown usually reads me a story before bed", Paddington tells the warden, earnestly, while being escorted to his cell.

This is where the movie hits its stride.


Paddington 2 won't just thrill a bright-eyed child, but is capable of warming the coldest cockles of any curmudgeon's heart. Now we slip back to see that Paddington continues to inspire joy in the Browns and everyone around him. The movie is full of bright wit and honest joy, as Paddington's innate kindness permeates all around him, providing a tired world just what it needs right now. Sally Hawkins, a possible Oscar nominee for "The Shape of Water", plays his "mom".

Phoenix Buchanan, as brought to life by Grant, desperately thrives on validation; he's first seen opening up a local carnival and gets far more pleasure from reminding the mostly adoring crowd of his past than he is of essentially emceeing a ribbon-cutting ceremony. However, his comic sensibilities, which always lean towards sarcasm (arguably, Grant's best performance is as the acidic lead in the 2002 dramedy About a Boy), fit in squarely with Paddington 2's sly tone.

The film veers from enormously amusing to slightly sad, and never stops pushing the importance of family, whether it be the one consisting of the Browns and the ursine lad who lives with them or the one that lives, against their will, behind bars.

Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor.

'Basically the restraining order came to an end!' he joked, before adding: 'We finally met again on this film, it was quite weird in rehearsals saying 'do you realise it's been 19 years since we've been rehearsing together?' [But] it was nice because Notting Hill was one of my first films and it was a very happy memory'.

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