Screen Rant's Vic Holtreman reviews Despicable Me
The commercials and trailers for Despicable Me had me hopeful and looking forward to this animated kids' movie about an older villain trying to remain relevant as a younger bad guy grabs the spotlight. It has the voice talents of Steve Carell (as Gru, the older villain) and Jason Segel (Vector, the younger villain) - along with hundreds of funny little minions that look like yellow pencil erasers. Most everything I saw in the trailers and clips made me giggle (at least a little bit) - but as often happens, the problem is that most of the best comedy bits in the film are shown before you ever pay for your ticket and popcorn.
Gru is the CGI version of the sort of villain that would turn up in a vintage James Bond movie: Thick accent, grandiose plans and the elaborate headquarters and gadgets with which to hatch them. The problem is that there's a new, young guy on the scene named Vector (previously just "Victor" - but a villain needs a cooler name than that I guess). Vector has been grabbing newspaper headlines and news broadcast attention, while Gru struggles to remain relevant and infamous. He concocts a plan to steal the moon, but needs a loan from the bank (which has a name that will definitely get a chuckle out of the grown-ups in attendance). Sadly, the bank looks upon him the same way the public does - as a has-been. Not the guy worth investing in when there's a slick new guy in town.
He needs a device that is kept in Vector's lair, and with its incredible defenses there's no way he's getting in. But he discovers that he can get through them by using three little orphan girls as unwitting accomplices. He has no other use for them, but the only way he can get them to help is to adopt them, despite his distaste for cute little children. What he doesn't expect is how they turn out to be formidable foes in their own right, and of course they chip their way into his cold heart.
As is to be expected, the road to redemption in films (animated or otherwise) is never smooth, and Gru's mad scientist Dr. Nefario (voiced by Russell Brand) is determined to help keep things in the proper (evil) perspective for Gru despite his reluctant slide into fatherhood.
Steve Carell puts on what sounds like a Russian accent, and frankly he changes his voice so much that I didn't recognize it as his at all. That's not a criticism - he gave a great delivery throughout the film and considering what an unlikeable character he played, directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaudstill managed to make the audience want to like him. Segel was funny as Vector (butt-dance notwithstanding, but kids like that stuff - what are you going to do?), and I swear they went out of their way to make him look like Bill Gates. :)
The little girls were just plain adorable, especially the youngest. The dialog was cute, the story funny and the use of 3D was good (especially during the end credits were it's totally played up for fun). It's just too bad that most of the funniest scenes in the film were shown in the marketing of the film - there were moments that I'd already seen, which when they appeared in the film I really wished I hadn't seen before ("it's so FLUFFY!!!").
If you haven't seen much in the way of clips and trailers, you'll enjoy Despicable Me that much more, but still not nearly as much as your children will. Take the family to this one, you won't regret it.