Paddington 2, the sequel to the hit family film, finds Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) happily settled with the Brown family in London’s Windsor Gardens, where he has become a (mostly) popular face in the neighbourhood.

While perusing Mr Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) antique shop for the perfect birthday gift for his Aunt Lucy’s (voiced by Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday, Paddington comes across a beautiful pop-up book, which proves far too expensive.

Determined to buy the book Paddington takes on a series of odd-jobs, but when the book is stolen Paddington and the Browns set out to solve the mystery and catch a thief.

A superb screenplay from director Paul King, with co-writers Simon Farnaby and Jon Croker, makes Paddington 2 thoroughly entertaining, and the characters equally endearing.

Hugh Bonneville is very funny as Mr Brown, going through a midlife crisis after losing his job, while Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins) becomes obsessed with solving the mystery behind the theft of the pop-up book, leading her husband to think she is losing the plot.

The star of this film though is Hugh Grant, new to the franchise here as washed-up veteran actor turned villain, Phoenix Buchanan. Grant’s performance is hilariously campy, and despite his actions Buchanan is pitiable, even a little likeable. Another thoroughly entertaining new addition in this film is Brendan Gleeson as hardened prison cook, Knuckles McGinty.

The all-star returning cast of Julie Walters as the sardonic Mrs Bird, Peter Capaldi as the detestable Mr Curry, and Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin as Judy and Jonathon Brown respectively, carry solid roles.

There are some entirely enchanting sequences in the film, and when you least expect it, something new happens to delight. With enough twists and turns to please the whole family, Paddington 2 looks set to be a hit this Christmas. Keep an eye out too for Australia’s Noah Taylor as a likeable rogue. Oh, and a tip; stay in your seat for the end credits!

PADDINGTON 2 will be released in Australian cinemas December 21 with advance screenings December 9-10 & 16-17.

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