Despicable Me

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            When Despicable Me first hit the theaters, I loved itís television promos.  But critics warned that what you saw in the promos were the funniest parts of the movie.  With that advise, I decided to skip the 3D animated film and wait for it to come out on DVD.  Thatís when my favorite video store closed and, as I loathe downloading any videos to my computer, I decided I would just have to wait until I found another video store to rent from.  Lo and behold, I wouldnít have to wait long to see Despicable Me - a friend had already purchased the film and offered to lend it to me.

            Despicable Me stars Steve Carell as Felonious Gru, a super-villain whose days of notoriety are about to end.  Despite working out of a cool hidden lair in a suburban home, being surrounded by thousands of little minions and provided some of the greatest in super-villain weaponry by the aging Dr. Nefarious (Russell Brand), Gru is about to be outdone by a newer, younger super-villain.  Vector (Jason Segal) has just made the news by stealing the Great Pyramid of Giza.  The notoriety he receives for this feat puts Gru at the bottom of the villains list.  Everyone wants a piece of the new nefarious villain on the blockís action.

            Gru devises a plan to pull the most amazing heist of the century - he will steal the moon.  Unfortunately, the Bank of Evil refuses to loan Gru the money for his plan unless he can secure an integral part of it - a shrink ray.  Gru succeeds, only to have it stolen from him by Vector.  Noting Vectorís childlike love of cookies, Gru decides to adopt three orphan girls and use them to insert robotic cookies into the home.  These robotic cookies will disengage all alarms and defenses and allow Gru to get the shrink ray back. 

            But there is one part of his nefarious plot he wasnít quite counting on.  The orphan girls who he was only using to get into Vectorís lair have grown on Gru.  He feels a responsibility toward them and begins to like having them around.  Can his evil faÁade be so easily chipped by three orphan girls? 

            As I watched Despicable Me (without the 3D features that I so deplore), I found that it started slow, but eventually picked up speed.  Within the first few minutes, I was certain that the critics were right, but as things move forward and we see Gru interacting with his new charges, I couldnít help but laugh.  The minions are pretty funny, but I found Gruís interactions with the orphans to be much more comical.  Favorite scenes include Gru straightening out the booth clerk at the amusement park and winning Agnes her FLUFFY unicorn, Gruís flashbacks of wanting to fly to the moon and the Gru family tea party.

            The plot may be a tad silly, but there is a lesson to be had here regarding the importance of family.  This serious message was delivered in a rather heartwarming way that doesnít take anything away from the humor in the film.    

            I only have one complaint other than the slowness of the filmís beginning.  Why does Gruís mother (Julie Andrews) look exactly like Grandma from Hoodwinked?  It was really annoying to me for some reason.  Why couldnít they come up with a different looking character for Gruís mother?  Seems like a petty complaint, but I think it valid.

            Other than that, I found Despicable Me to be a funny and engaging film with a sweet message that would be great fun for kids and adults alike.


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