The 'Paddington' sequel bears laughs, warmth, and charm

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

And while all of that is happening, we get a look at what Paddington is going through in the hoosegow, and especially how he's coping with the fearsome jailhouse chef Knuckles McGinty (a hilarious Brendan Gleeson).

Director Paul King layers the movie - based on Michael Bond's beloved childrens books- with humor aimed at both the younger set and their parents.

EUR: Why should viewers go out and see "Paddington 2?".

Kate Erbland, Indie Wire: "If there's anything at all amiss in King and Simon Farnaby's screenplay, it's a slightly convoluted start that centers on the book, the carnival, Paddington's attempt to make money, and the eventual introduction of Hugh Grant's dastardly villain, evil actor Phoenix Buchanan (everyone in the movie is obviously have a wonderful time, but no one is having as good a time as Grant)". When a mysterious figure breaks into the antique shop and steals the book, Paddington is framed for the theft and sent to prison.

Ditching the tie for the more casual event, Hugh posed alongside Melissa, Denise, and their kids as he promoted the kids film.

Arriving just in time to brighten a typically dreary post-holiday season at the multiplex, "Paddington 2" is a beautifully structured comedy of the old school, full of inspired blink-and-you-miss-it wordplay, intricate gags that build on each other, and narrative digressions that pay off in ways that feel inspired rather than predictable.

Premiere party The Moms event gave families the opportunity to see the film ahead of its release in America on Friday and guests received a Paddington plush toy and pop-up book
The 'Paddington' sequel bears laughs, warmth, and charm

This is where the movie hits its stride.

One advisory. As I said earlier, novices should prepare for viewing "Paddington 2". Like the first Paddington, the sequel has a Wes Anderson-style attention to detail and a keen eye for quirky visuals, thanks to King and his returning collaborators behind the camera (including, cinematographer Erik Wilson and production designer Gary Williamson). Eventually, with the help of the Browns, Paddington is back on his tail. Are you missing a little kindness and wonder in your life? "Mrs. Brown usually reads me a story before bed", Paddington tells the warden, earnestly, while being escorted to his cell.

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. Sally Hawkins, a possible Oscar nominee for "The Shape of Water", plays his "mom". The bear doesn't care about the latest technology or pop culture references.

Alas, neither Paddington's short-lived experience as a barber's assistant nor his more enjoyable stint as a window washer could possibly earn him enough to afford such a treasure.

Paddington 2 is not only as warmhearted and well-crafted as its predecessor, it's the rare sequel that improves on the first installment. Paddington never gives up on his adopted family who love him dearly and never doubts that they'll pursue justice for him.

"Paddington", a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for "some action and mild rude humor". Rather than just present another simply whimsical romp for Paddington and The Browns to amble their way through, we're instead given a film that challenges its audience with a story that encourages empathy, as well as extolls the virtues of being in a community.

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