It is interesting that when I talk about animated films the conversation always starts with, ďit isnít as good as Pixar butÖĒ There is no doubt that those mad scientists over there have set the standard for this genre and few can touch it. So with the new family comedy from Universal Pictures, Despicable Me, let me just say it isnít Pixar, but it is still a lot of fun with a few heartwarming moments thrown in for good measure.
Gru (Steve Carell) is a hard hearted, despicable, low down, evil genius; and proud of it. So when a hot shot newcomer (Jason Segel) tries to steal his malicious thunder Gru has to find a way to out-crime him. And what better way than to steal the moon? So along with his team of yellow minions Gru gets to work. But when three young orphan girls get involved, he finds that some things are far more valuable than dastardly deeds.
For its lack of knee deep humor Despicable Me makes up for it with fun characters and heart warming lovability. Gru is uniquely drawn and Carell brings a distinctive element to his voice that helps make him memorable. As Steve puts it, it is a cross between Ricardo Montalban and Bela Lugosi. Fans of The Office will have no problem separating the Michael Scott voice they recognize with this animated villain. This goes a long way in making Gru a solid fixture instead of a simple cartoon. Plus he is certainly despicable.
A definite saving grace for the film is the legion of quirky minions that slave away in Gruís lab. They bring most if not all the laughable humor. Not to say that the rest of the film is heavy or humorless but the comic style is not as prominent as most films of this nature. So with undecipherable dialogue and fast slapstick movements they not only keep you alert but provide much needed comic relief. Add in adorable orphans that truly grab your heartstrings and give them a solid strum and you will find this an above board movie experience for the entire family; regardless of the Pixar high-bar.
Despicable Me is rated PG for rude humor and mild action. Unless you are a genuinely diehard Moon fan and canít stand the thought of anyone messing with it, you should be pretty safe with the content. I give it a 3.5 out of 5 evil credit score. I donít see it being an immediate success like others this year but if you give it a chance you will find it at least surpasses some areas of the family film genre. So says Matt Mungle.
Review copyright 2010 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.
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