Despicable Me is a compelling animated comedy about an aging supervillain’s falling popularity at the hands of a younger supervillain and three young orphan girls. Gru is a true, bad-to-the-core evildoer who’s earned the title of the world’s No. 1 supervillain. But when young upstart Vector steals the Pyramid of Giza, Gru’s status suddenly sinks to No. 2.
Gru counters his fall by speeding up his plan to shrink and steal the moon, enlisting the help of his army of minions and the elderly Dr. Nefario, but a lack of funding and the difficulties involved in stealing the needed shrink-ray gun threaten to derail everything. Adopting three young orphan girls is an unlikely, but seemingly effective means to further Gru’s evil mission, but Gru quickly discovers that caring for three young girls is more work, and distraction, than he could ever have anticipated.
What unfolds is an unexpected shift in attitude that will forever change the lives of Gru, Vector, and all three young girls. A visually appealing film produced by Chris Meledandri (Ice Age, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Horton Hears a Who), Despicable Me is full of weirdly shaped characters and settings that are somehow a perfect fit for Sergio Pablos’s story.
What’s especially refreshing is that in this film, 3-D effects are used skillfully and effectively: even when the effects are exploited for comic reasons, they don’t become a distraction, as is all too common in many recent movies. The film is full of corny banter and silly antics that inspire plenty of spontaneous laughter, and the minions, while not the best-developed characters, sure are comical. Ultimately, there’s also a wholesome message about following one’s heart.
Steve Carell is the perfect villain-gone-soft in his role as Gru, Jason Segal is quite funny as Vector, and Julie Andrews makes a surprising appearance as Gru’s very un-motherly mom. Despicable Me celebrates silliness in a way that’s satisfying and highly entertaining.
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