My exposure to the work of Miranda Cosgrove is very, very limited.
For example, I could tell you that I think she does lovely work in “Despicable Me 2” as Margo, the oldest of the girls that were adopted by Gru at the end of the first film. She is at that age where she’s starting to notice boys, and they’re starting to notice her, and while I’m sure every teen (and every father of every teen girl) has trouble during this period of transition, not all of them have a former evil genius for a father.
Watching Gru’s frustration as he sees Margo make those first fumbling steps towards adulthood is very funny, but I have to admit… I can only laugh because I have sons. I think I would be a total catastrophe as a dad if I had two girls. Overprotective hardly even begins to describe how I’d handle things. Yesterday, someone ran a photo of Eminem’s daughter on Twitter, who was so much a presence in his lyrics when she was basically a baby. She’s a pretty teenage girl now, and I can’t imagine being the poor teenage kid who goes to pick her up for a date and then has to face Eminem before he can leave the house again. I would have absolutely no problem being a menace if some kid showed up to take my daughter on a date, and “Despicable Me 2” gets a lot of comic mileage out of showing how Gru handles it.
The thing that would really tear me up though would be the moments of heartbreak. And that’s where the relationship between Gru and Margo is etched most carefully here. Carrell and Cosgrove both do very good work in the roles, and even in a film as gleefully wacko as this one, there is an emotional truth that they’re trying to capture. I think they are careful never to tip too far into the emotional end of things. It’s not a maudlin film at all. But these milestones that parents and kids face are pretty universal, and I can see how this might allow for some good conversations afterwards with kids at the same age.
I do have a sense of just how famous Cosgrove is to a certain age group, though, because of our good friends whose oldest daughter has been a raving “iCarly” fan since she could talk, basically. That show is obviously huge for a certain demographic, and having interviewed Cosgrove twice now, she seems to be really well-adjusted and centered considering how young she was when her show became crazy uber popular. And those fans are probably equally excited by the idea that Moises Arias (who I thought was outstanding in “The Kings Of Summer” this year) is playing the young man who woos her, since Arias is an equally well-loved young star to that age group. All that really matters in the end is that they’re both really good in this movie, and the storyline really works.
“Despicable Me 2” is in theaters tomorrow.