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Despicable Me
Reviewed by Alan J. Porter, © 2010

Format: Movie
By:   Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Genre:   Sci-fi comedy
Review Date:   July 08, 2010
RevSF Rating:   6/10 (What Is This?)

"Wow, this is garbage! You actually like this?" -- Gru

Pretty much everything you need to know about Despicable Me is covered by the four theatrical trailers, which have been playing for a while now. String three of the trailers together and you basically have the first five minutes of the movie.

The predictable plot centers around an aging and somewhat unsuccessful super-villain named Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), who has been upstaged by a young upstart, Vector (Jason Segel), after he pulls off a theft of one of the Pyramids.

In response, Gru decides to up his game and put into action his lifelong ambition to steal the Moon. His plans go awry when three young orphans come into his life, who seem him not as a villain, but as a potential father figure.

Although he does not realize it, Gru is already a father figure to the army of small yellow minions that aid him in his nefarious schemes. Although at first sight they seem to be a sea of identical drones, each has a distinct personality, and it appears that Gru knows each one of them. Although the origin of the minions is never explained, a passing shot of a minion blueprint on a wall suggests that each one was hand crafted by Gru himself. They are immensely loyal to each other, as well as Gru, yet not above mischief.

Aiding Gru is his sidekick, and resident mad-scientist, Dr. Nefario. He is voiced by Russell Brand, who proves that when he sets aside the potty jokes and swear words, he has the timing and delivery to be an accomplished comedy actor.)

The majority of the humor is aimed at the target audience of young kids, yet there are quips and references aplenty for adults in the audience. Gru also has the habit of saying aloud various thoughts that have crossed the mind of many a parent, but which we have never dared utter in front of our own kids.

(Such as the quote above, which he utters while reading a saccharine sweet bedtime story about fluffy kittens.)

In many ways his journey into parenthood is the key to the movie, and it certainly touches, even if somewhat predictably, the right emotional notes.

Like most releases these days, Despicable Me is in 3D, and for once, some of the scenes work best in 3D, especially a CGI recreation of the old staple 3D demo reel, a roller coaster ride.

One of the best 3D scenes is an end credit sequence involving a couple of the minions reaching out into the audience. So if you take the kids, make sure to stay a while once the movie is over.

Despicable Me was a cute, fun, if somewhat predictable, family movie, in which the minions completely steal the show.

Check out the movie site andMinion Dominion. Two words: Minion Maker.

Pop culture historian Alan J. Porter writes the Cars comic book and the RevolutionSF blog Can't See The Forest. Three little kittens started to yawn . . .

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