JT Film Review

99 – Despicable Me (2010)

Despicable Me REVIEW

4/5 stars

Director – Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin

Cast – Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Will Arnett, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier, Julie Andrews, Danny MacBride

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Despicable Me features the voice talents of Steve Carell as comic super-villain Gru who, after adopting three children so he can use them against an enemy, finds himself falling for the children’s charms and innocence. His heart starts small, but grows three sizes, to paraphrase Dr. Seuss.

The comparison to the Grinch is apt, as this character borrows heavily from him. The movie itself borrows from many movies, and its plot, that of a group of kids changing an old grump’s heart, is certainly not new. While it is certainly new to tell the story with a super-villain locking horns with a new up and coming super-villain (at least until Megamind comes out), this movie definitely does follow a tried and true path. As Frost said, it is certainly nice to go  the route less travelled by once in a while, but it also doesn’t hurt to tread down memory lane once in a while.

While the movie may arguably lack huge amounts of originality, it more than makes up for it with its sly sense of (sometimes dark) humour and its swift energy. The manic (and over advertised) little yellow “minions” of Gru’s are the stuff kids movies are made for.  They are stupid, adorable, and can be blown up and damaged with no real ill effects. Perfect cannon fodder for the young ‘uns.

This is without a doubt a kids movie, about kids and for kids. This is not to say that adults can not enjoy it as well, but it does lack the all round appeal of a Pixar film for example. The world is self-contained, which I like, meaning it does not rely on in-jokes and parody as much as the Shrek films.

Despicable Me, as I said, borrows heavily from the tried and true formulas we know, and that does stop it from reaching its full potential. It does veer from the truly sappy though, for the most part we really belive in and cheer for Gru’s gradual love for his “children”. It is quite touching, evem cute, and enjoyable to watch. I hear news of a sequel, and while the sequel trend is something I am not a huge fan of, I wouldn’t mind revisiting this pleasant little world. I think Gru will gradually become a favorite character of children. Expect a whole bunch of Halloween costumes based on him. And why not? It is a testament to Carell’s voice talents (and good writing) that such a villainous (granted, comically so) villain could be so endearing. At the end we want to do nothing more than pat him on the back and say “You’re not despicable, Gru.” Not at all. Not at all.

OVERALL

Despicable Me is quick, funny, and even genuinely touching at times. Steve Carell puts in a great performance, and the rest of the cast backs him up solidly. The animation is vivid and captivating, and the only thing stopping this from becoming a classic is the slightly “been-there-done-that” feel to it all. However what it does it does well, and is a remarkably solid children’s film. Very much recommended.

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TRAILER

“Despicable Me” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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July 15, 2010 - Posted by | 4 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Family, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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