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Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Charming And Disarming 'Paddington' Cinematic Universe

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Wee Ol' Teddy, Marmalade: Ben Whishaw voices the perpetually well-meaning bear in <em>Paddington 2.</em>

This week, with Linda off galavanting around New York, Stephen and I are joined by the great and good Margaret Willison and Chris Klimek to discuss a certain quiet, subdued and exceedingly well-mannered topic that somehow we hadn't yet gotten around to: The Paddington films.

The first movie, in which Ben Whishaw voices an animated bear who travels from Darkest Peru to London to look for a home, hit theaters in 2014. Paddington 2 came out last year, and now that both films can be found on a variety of streaming services, we decided it was high time to catch up, and grapple with just what it is that makes them so damn charming.

Is it their vaguely Li'l Wes Anderson vibe — and shot compositions? Their elegantly constructed slapstick? The deft way the producers manage to catch pretty much every well-known British actor — all six of 'em — between stints in Measure for Measure on the West End? (Resolved: Hugh Grant, who plays the baddie in Paddington 2, is, as the kids say, a hoot.)

Or is it their essential Britishness itself, which manages to impart a sweet, ever-so-slightly sardonic tone to the proceedings that keeps these kids' films from edging over into cloying? (That's my vote, personally.)

Linda will be back on Friday to lead us — me, Stephen and the wonderful Bim Adewunmi — in a discussion of Ocean's 8.

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