This guy loves to see kids cry.
Movies like Despicable Me really show the utter brilliance of Pixar. Up and the Toy Story films draw an emotional reaction from it's audience that the audience does not even see coming. Despicable Me is at best, story telling 101.
Gru is a super villain, who prides himself on his dastardly ways. Early in the film he blows up a balloon dog for a little boy, just so he can pop it and make him cry. By the end of the film he is racing to get to some little girls dance recital so as to not disappoint them.
What makes him change are three little girls he adopts in order to sneak into a rival super villains lair. Vector, the rival, has placed a cookie order with the girls and Gru plans to use the girls delivering the order as a way in.
In this world there is apparently no super heroes, or even police. These bad guys get away with ridiculous crimes without anyone ever coming close to stopping them. Vector steals the Pyramid at Giza, and in the best sight gag has it in his back yard painted like the sky to hide it (poorly). Gru never pays for any of his crimes.
I often go on about how animated family films are actually anti-traditional family. Despicable Me follows the trend with the orphan story line. The movie however, opens with a traditional family visiting the Pyramids, but it is only an excuse to make fun of Americans. The Dad is decked out in red, white and blue. He is sun burnt and very fat. The son is likewise overweight and disobedient.
Those little round yellow guys that are dominating the commercials are not nearly as funny as you would hope. They look like little penises (especially the one eyed ones) and do little but squeak and dance disco, one too many times.
The lesson of Despicable Me kids, is that you should all go spend time with that single, middle aged creepy guy down the street. After spending some nights at his house and a day at an amusement park, he will turn into a loving, doting parental figure. Go ahead. It will be fine. I am sure he will treat you much better than your obnoxious parents or that mean social service lady.
Gru's little yellow minions.
Sure Eric, Toy Story 3 is a better made, more emotional movie, but these movies are so far apart on the spectrum that even comparing them seems unfair. The only thing they have in common is the medium of animation. I mean, would you compare Austin Powers to The Godfather just because they're both live-action films?
Do you ever just enjoy movies anymore Eric? I have this image of you sitting there with a pencil and paper during a movie waiting for something to offend you. "Aha, a single parent! Aha, they insulted America!" You seem to so constantly go on about the liberal practices of Hollywood filmmakers, that I wonder why you continue to support them by paying for movie tickets.
Because you were so busy taking these notes (mental or written) is the only reason I can think of why you didn't find this movie funny. The little yellow minions are hilarious. And penises, really? (Paging, Doctor Freud.) They reminded me of thumbs. I thought that their antics were the brightest and funniest part of the film. I mean, if you can't laugh when they're photocopying their little yellow butt, when can you laugh?
Sure the humor is often childish and silly, but they also throw in the occasional joke for the grown-ups that will go straight over the kid's heads. I didn't hear too many 5 year olds laugh when they saw the sign that read, "Evil Bank (formerly Lehman Brothers)".
I also enjoyed Gru's relationship with the little girls, particularly the youngest. Her cry of "It's so fluffy!" makes me laugh every time I see it, even in just the previews. Yeah, it's sappy and we've all seen cute kids melt stoney hearts in movies before, but it works.
The real lesson of this movie is that you shouldn't be taking lessons from it at all. It's just a silly little cartoon and a highly enjoyable one. Don't look for a deep meaning in it that doesn't exist, just enjoy it.
Photos © Copyright Universal Studios (2010)