Despicable Me (2010)

Movie Photo
IMDb Rating
7.7 out of 10 (view IMDb page)

  • Not Rated Yet
(Based on 0 Ratings)
MPAA Rating:
PG for rude humor and mild action.
Animation, Comedy, Family
Pierre Coffin
Chris Renaud
Ken Daurio (screenplay)
Sergio Pablos (story)
See more »

Weekly Volcano's Review

Rev. Adam McKinney on July 7th, 2010

Favorite This Like this Movie? You can Favorite it on your Profile.

A lot of talented people came together in the making of the disappointingly mediocre, 3D-animated Despicable Me. Steve Carell heads a cast of about a dozen legitimately funny people adding their voices to the work, including Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Ken Jeong, Danny McBride, Kristen Wiig, Jemaine Clement, Jack McBrayer, and on and on.

Damn it, this should be a better movie.

I think the writers and directors got enamored with a cute idea: hotshot, vaguely Eastern European super villain, Gru (Steve Carell) - who starts the film as something of an old, mean and curmudgeon - has his villainous supremacy challenged by a foolhardy upstart named Vector (Jason Segel). Vector recently succeeded in stealing the Great Pyramid, replacing it with a rubber replica. The grandest thing Gru can lay claim to having taken is the JumboTron from Time Square.

In this world, villainy seems to be absurdly common, except that all it ever amounts to is the thieving of landmarks. To finance these heists, villains go to the Bank of Evil to ask for loans. How exactly the BoE manages to be repaid on these loans is never addressed, as it appears that, once stolen, the landmarks just stay with the villains - no ransom or anything.

So, Gru must one-up Vector, as the world agrees that the pyramid being stolen is pretty cool. What could top that heist?

Gru decides to steal the moon. And, uh, that'll show ‘em.

But Vector possesses what Gru needs: a shrink-ray. As Gru attempts to get the shrink-ray from Vector's impenetrable fortress, Despicable Me becomes, for a time, an extended Spy vs. Spy cartoon. When Gru is blown up by missiles, the damage amounts to simply a covering of soot. When the stakes are raised later in the movie, I can be excused for not being very worried for the characters' wellbeing.

Eventually, Gru figures out that the only way to penetrate Vector's fortress is by sending adorable, little homeless girls in to sell him cookies. Would you believe me if I said he adopts them? And would you believe me if I said Gru, the mean old curmudgeonly man, eventually comes to like them? Even, perhaps, to love them? The movie doesn't explicitly say it, but I suspect Gru's heart grew three sizes at some point - to no one's real surprise.

Alright, so we've got the grumpy man who learns to change his ways; we have the adorable little girls with their big, pretty doe eyes, and their unconditional love and adoration; we've got lasers and explosions and all that jazz. All we need now is constant, hilarious comic relief, right?

Sadly, Despicable Me fills that gap with Gru's minions, which are these yellow, two-feet tall blob-guys that look like Twinkie the Kid if he got a job at a coal mine.

The minions display the central weakness of Despicable Me - they're not funny. There are only so many times one can witness a Twinkie hit another Twinkie, or a Twinkie crash into a wall, or a Twinkie put on a weird outfit. The bits involving the minions are never anything other than blatant pandering to simple people who enjoy seeing funny shapes on a big screen. What's most insulting about their incessant inclusion in the movie is they seem created purely from the standpoint of hoping to sell some minion-related merchandise in the near future.

In the end, Despicable Me is a work of half-measures - an odd thing to say about a movie where the central conflict involves shrinking the moon down to the size of a grapefruit. But it's true. As a curmudgeon, Gru never, ever comes off as someone we doubt could eventually be warmed over. The orphan girls exist to do nothing but act cute and drag the movie, kicking and screaming, across its 90 minutes. Their dance recital screams plot contrivance from its very introduction. And the Twinkie minions aren't funny.

All of this would be fine, though, if the movie aspired to be more than a passing, pleasant experience. Many of the jokes succeeded in making me smile, but only one ever made me laugh, and the cartoonish early acts made it impossible for me to care about what happens to Gru and his girls.

And don't get me started on that goddamn 3D. - Two stars

comments powered by Disqus