Despicable Me (2010)


 I don’t… *sigh* I don’t even really know what to say about this movie. I’m sure a lot of people have seen it, and it’s my first movie I’m reviewing that I didn’t see as a kid, because I wasn’t a kid in 2010. I don’t have that naive way of looking at it anymore. I have to look at this movie as an adult but at the same time I’m going to try and look at it from a kid’s perspective. We’ll see how this goes.

 What I do remember very well was the trailer for this movie. It turned out to be the first few minutes of the actual movie, with a group of rednecks visiting the pyramids, a kid getting over the security tethers, and falling into the pyramid only to reveal that it was a blow up. Someone had stolen the pyramid! Then the credits flashed with a ton of celebrity voices, and that song came on. My husband and I both looked at each other, having wiped away our tears from laughing so hard, and pretty much both went “we have to see that!”

 Luckily, it turned out to be a movie that delivered. I don’t know what I was quite expecting from an actual movie based on that trailer, but I do admit I didn’t expect the story that we got. If anything, it was much more grounded than I thought we were going to get. I think I was more expecting some type of PG rated Apatow equivalent comedy. You know, extremely immature jokes, etc.

 The story centers around a notorious villain named Gru, who’s from some country that I still can’t decide on. Seriously, where is that accent from? Anyway, he’s getting shown up by some new villain who has just stolen the pyramids. To stay on top, he decides to attempt to steal the moon. After he is denied a loan from the “Bank of Evil,” he finds out that the guy who stole the pyramid and is showing him up is a nerdy kid named Vector. Gru goes to steal a shrink ray (the bank told them they’d reconsider if he could get that), but vector steals it. After spying on Vector for a bit trying to figure out how to get it back, he sees 3 orphan girls getting let in selling cookies. Struck with an idea, he poses as a doctor and adopts the three girls, Margo, Edith, and Agnes. Capers ensue at home while he adjusts to having kids, and they unknowingly help him steal back the shrink ray. More stuff happens, he gets to know and love the girls, and loses his focus. The girls are dumped back at the orphanage by his 2nd in command, and he goes to steal the moon. Will Gru be reunited with the girls? Will Vector make things difficult? Well, you just have to watch and find out…

 Sure, it’s a plot that’s been done before (we sort of saw something similar just a few movies ago with All Dogs Go To Heaven), but there’s just enough different that this movie is just endearing. For once, the kids don’t get upset he’s an evil villain. In fact, they embrace it. Like Gru, they’ve also been the kids that just don’t fit in. They, like him, have always been “weird.” I mean, when Gru uses a fireball machine to win a carnival game, the girls react by screaming how cool that was. That’s the kind of movie this is.

 The best thing this movie has going for it is really the humor. I don’t remember the last time I laughed as hard as this the first time I saw it. It’s joke after joke, and they are sight gags, sarcastic one-liners, and involved scenes. The rest of my review could just be me explaining my favorites, and it would be a few pages long. This movie really is that funny. A big thing that contributes to a lot of the jokes succeeding is the wonderful work the voice actors did. We have the ever funny Steve Carrell as Gru, Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario (Gru’s 2nd), and Jason Segal as Vector. Carrell is hilarious. “Why? Why are you so…. Old…?” that’s the best line uttered by him, and written out it’s not funny. But the comedic delivery is so perfect. Every joke he makes is perfect. If they had gotten someone else to be Gru, it wouldn’t be the same.

 I also can’t mention the humor of this movie without mentioning the minions. These are little yellow pill-like creatures that worship and work for Gru in his underground lab. They don’t speak english but some kind of random jabbering. They take care of most of the sight gags, and again, they are SO FUNNY. You don’t sit there going “what are those things? How are they real? How do the girls not freak out when they first see them?” because they’re just so cute and funny and good natured. They channeled Carlie Chaplin. They have the minions do extremely random things. They use them readily as test subjects and send them inadvertently into outer space. They dress them in drag and dump them in the middle of a wal-mart. They put their all into their work, and they offer to help pay to make the rocket. The little yellow things with big hearts and not a ton of intelligence. You can’t help but love them.

 The characters I’m honestly just going to brush over, because they’re not horrible, but they’re not incredibly deep and complicated.  Sure, you connect to them, but not as much as a lot of other movies. Gru plays the villain well but he’s more of a good-hearted guy who lives next door who just happens to think he can take over the world (with mixed results). He’s almost like the bumbling villain, and it is kinda fun to watch. Dr. Nefario is old and hilarious. The girls, Margo, Edith and Agnes all have distinct personalities and quite honestly I adore these kids. Margo is responsible and a bit disillusioned and untrusting. Edith enjoys gross things and likes getting into everything, and Agnes is a cartoonized little kid who likes candy, unicorns, and will hold her breath until she gets what she wants. As I mentioned, all three of these kids are a bit “odd” and you can see it well. That’s why they get along with Gru. 

 Vector as a villain and our main antagonist is quite an interesting one. He’s a nerdy geek who really wants to be thought of as a maniacal villain, but apparently has no instinct for this stuff (turns out his dad who runs the bank of evil is the one who has been helping him). He’s the bratty little kid who is still doing what daddy wants him to do, in the meantime inventing things like squid launchers and keeping a shark below his family room. He’s gullible and very child-like. He’s not an extremely evil villain until the very end. He’s funny. Normally I wouldn’t enjoy this (I seem to always want extremely evil complex villains), but in this movie it works, and I love it. A really evil villain would just detract from the humor.

 A few of the jokes are immature. I would have liked to delve a bit more into this world. I also feel I would have enjoyed it if the movie didn’t end in a freaking dance number (seriously… are we still doing that? Stupid Shrek…). I would have liked more… I don’t know. I always feel like this movie is missing something, but I can never put my finger on it. 

 I don’t really have much more to say about Despicable Me. I feel like this is a movie you almost have to like. I’ve never met someone who despises this movie. They may not find it as funny as me or my husband, but they admit it makes them chuckle. And the best part is I’ve seen it probably 6 or 7 times, and it’s still hilarious. It still makes me laugh. Sure it’s not the most deep or most thought provoking movie, but sometimes you just need to laugh. And sometimes you need to root for the bad guy.

 It’s an ok movie for kids. I don’t know how many jokes they’ll get, but they’ll think Gru is funny and Vector is funny and the kids are funny. There’s nothing too scary in it. Really, the more I think about it, the more I think this is a great movie for kids. It would at least be entertaining. 

 If you haven’t seen it, see it. See it on a day you’re feeling blue. See it on a rainy or showy day. I guarantee you it will at least put a smile on your face. And you will start quoting it nonstop if you are anything like my husband and I.

 Oh, and the bedtime stories are the best. “This is literature?” hehehe. 

 I give Despicable Me (2010) a 4.15 out of 5

 Next up: Coraline (2009)


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