REVIEW: Despicable Me

11 07 2010

A lot of comedies aren’t made by the main attraction.  We don’t love “Caddyshack” because of Danny Noonan.  “Knocked Up” might have been any old stoner comedy without Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd’s married couple breathing humor and humanity into it.  Even in animation, would you really say that your favorite character in “Toy Story” is Woody or Buzz?  Or Shrek and Fiona in the “Shrek” series?

So it’s unfortunate that Gru (Steve Carell), the despicable one that the title of “Despicable Me” alludes to, doesn’t really have much to offer us.  While most animated movies require us to suspend reality a little bit, here we have to go so far as to believe that a treacherous villain can go to Starbucks and have a house in the suburbs like normal people while still making headlines.  He becomes deadlocked in a fight for the top spot with Vector (Jason Segel), who we can never really buy as villainous because he looks like Edna Mode from “The Incredibles” in a track suit.  Their storyline is corny and, quite frankly, pretty stupid, but it sets up the “Grinch”-like tale of Gru’s adoption of three young orphans.

Thankfully, the movie doesn’t rely on Gru solely for laughs.  The minions are absolutely hilarious, easily the best part of “Despicable Me” and the real reason to see the movie.  Gru’s partners in crime resemble kernels of corn, and they pop off the screen with more energy than anyone else.  Every time they scamper on, a chuckle is guaranteed, but usually a giant laugh ensues.  We only get them in small doses as comic relief from Gru, yet I think I’d be more willing to sit through uninterrupted minion antics than the despicable villainy of their boss.

The movie has a big heart, something all kids movies should have but few really do nowadays.  This is most evident every time the three adorable kids waltz on screen, particularly the youngest, Agnes, who totally wins us over.  I probably would have cried had it been told with Pixar sensitivity.

So, despicable you, Gru, for hogging all the screen time.  You may be the #1 supervillain, but you aren’t the #1 attraction in your own movie.  B /


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4 responses

12 07 2010
CMrok93

Looks alright, but at the same time, all predictable stuff.

12 07 2010
Fitz

Dreamworks Animation has gotten better the past few years. No more Antz!

12 07 2010
Marshall

This isn’t Dreamworks, Fitz, just making sure you knew…

And @CMrok93, aside from Pixar, what kids/animated movie isn’t?

13 07 2010
Fitz

I would’ve sworn it was. Good for Universal.

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