US Release Date: 07-09-2010
Directed by: Pierre Coffin
- Steve Carell, as
- Gru (voice)
- Jason Segel, as
- Vector (voice)
- Russell Brand, as
- Dr. Nefario (voice)
- Julie Andrews, as
- Gru's Mom (voice)
- Will Arnett, as
- Mr. Perkins (voice)
- Kristen Wiig, as
- Miss Hattie (voice)
- Miranda Cosgrove, as
- Margo (voice)
- Dana Gaier, as
- Edith (voice)
- Elsie Fisher as
- Agnes (voice)
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 its 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 are 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.
Gru in Despicable Me.
Despicable Me is a mildly amusing but too cloyingly sweet animated kid's movie. It starts off promising enough. Gru is an interesting character, a sort of cartoon anti-hero. His dastardly plans and antisocial attitude are worthy of a few laughs. But then he lets those three little ragamuffins into his life and the picture goes downhill from there. I suppose if you are either a little girl yourself or the parents of young girls you may enjoy their too-cute overly adorable behavior. To me they seem as blatantly calculated to manipulate the audience's emotions as they are Gru's. The scene where he reads them a bedtime story nearly made me throw up in my mouth.
As for the debate about whether or not Gru's Minions look like penises, I have to agree with Scott. They are neither the shape nor the color of any penis I have ever seen. I will say that I found them odd looking, vaguely annoying and not at all amusing. Perhaps if you are under the age of eight they are hilarious but what an adult would find to laugh at about them is beyond me.
Modern animation seems to have confused storytelling with predictable sight gags that usually include someone dancing or else speaking in inappropriate-for-their-character trendy pop-culture vernacular that is sure to seem dated in just a few years. They play like overlong commercials in that the visual presentation is revered above all, and presented in the most obvious manner possible. Each subsequent sequel is like the newest shiniest toy in the box. Until next year when a newer toy comes along. The jokes don't just attempt to tickle your funny-bone they hit you over the head, repeatedly.
The voice work is nicely done. Steve Carell does a good job as Gru. He described his accent as a cross between Ricardo Montalban and Bela Lugosi. Julie Andrews, however, is completely wasted as Gru's shrew of a mother. It's a part unworthy of her stature and talent.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not a fan of modern animation. I shudder to think that in 20 years the children of today will look back with fond nostalgia at these movies. In my opinion, Despicable Me, like 90% of today's cartoons, is eminently forgettable.
Photos © Copyright Universal Studios (2010)