Running Time: 95 minutes
US Certificate: PG
Country: United States
Poor Gru (voice of Steve Carrell). All hes ever wanted was to be the best supervillain he could be and make his mama proud, but now, with young upstarts like Vector (voice of Jason Segel) going around stealing the Great Pyramids, he really has to up his game. He hatches a brilliant moon shrinking and stealing plot, only to have it thwarted by Vectorhis only recourse, of course, is to enlist three cookie-selling orphan girls as his accomplices so that maybe, just maybe, he can outsmart his nemesis and gain the fear and respect of the world. Darn it, though, if the kids arent cute, and his whole evil-guy way of life is challenged by little girls and books about kittens.
Everyone knows that when Pixar has a new animated film coming out, audiences will flock and critics will fall all over themselves to lavish much deserved praise. The other major animation studios, however, are a bit hit or miss. Universal hasnt really had too much to show for itself, but with Despicable Me, they may finally have found their footing and gotten a story in there that, while not as good as this summers Toy Story 3, is right up there.
Its not that its one of those instant classic type of animated features, though Id argue that both Gru and his minions (who knew that gibberish-speaking Twinkie creatures were so entertaining?) are definitely instant classic characters. Gru is especially loveable, through his (and because of) his nefarious ways, and even at his villainous worst, hes never scary, and is actually even pretty relatable to anyone whos ever felt inferior. Carrells voice work is almost unrecognizable, and on the flip side, Segel is an unexpectedly dastardly but whiny villain villain. Despicable Me doesnt pack the emotional wallop of some of its animated peers, but its consistently funny and strikes a balance between making kids and parents laughyes, there are fart jokes, but theyre actually funny.
I do wish more had been made of Kristen Wiigs evil orphanage head, as she actually seemed more villainous than the villains! And really, though theyre cute, Id argue the three kids arent quite as strong as they could be. That doesnt really matter in the end, however, because Gru and his minions are enough to carry the whole thing, and I dare you not to laugh when it looks like Gru might have impaled one of the kids.
Just me? OK.
It's Got: Steve Carrell beng funny; Awesome minions who look like snack cakes; Good balance between light and dark
It Needs: A bigger part for evil Wiig; Kids with a little more spark
Funny, sweet, but still a little dark, kids and parents should have a blast with Gru and those Twinkie-lookalike minions.