Despicable Me (2010)
My Synopsis: The “Forty Year-old Virgin” has joined Disney in a quest to rule the world!
Comments: Is it safe to say that Steve Carrell is the hardest working comedian in show business today? I mean seriously, this year alone there's “Date Night,” this movie, “Dinner for Schmucks,” and he still manages to make his stage calls on “The Office.” He's come a long way since “40 Year-old Virgin” and can sill pack in the laughs. Lending his voice to “Despicable Me” wasn't a bad move, and the movie is everything one could expect.
When I say everything that one could expect I unfortunately mean it fits in well with it's predecessors. It's set perfectly into the quirky family animated movie mold and does very little to stray from the formula. That is not to say the movie wasn't good, it was a fantastic representation of the genre, but it's originality is fleeting.
Ok, so it's not a Disney film, it's really by universal. In it we find a world that apparently has an underworld that caters to arch villains. In walks Gru, an evil genius that enjoys playing dirty tricks on children and planning impossible heists like stealing the moon. He is sort of a mix between Dr. Evil and Lex Luthor and sounds like an ex-gastapo scientist, so you know he's for real. Unfortunately his plan is thwarted when the local villainy bank refuses to fund his moon stealing scheme because he has been recently replaced as the top villain of the world by a geeky “super” villain named “Vector” (Jason Segel) that is half Bill Gates and half Howard from “The Big Bang Theory” who is lucky enough to also be related to the villainy bank loan officer. Gru does have a few things in his favor, he has many minions, millions of little yellow guys that do his bidding (although sometimes they misunderstand the biddings). There's also his hard of hearing lead scientist that often confuses such demands as “make me a dart gun” with “make me a fart gun.” As you can well imagine insane humor is to follow.
In traditional feel good family movie manner, we discover Gru always had big dreams as a child that were continually being shot down by his sometimes realist, most times just plain mean mother (voiced by Disney favorite Julie Andrews). Not the least of which was the desire to be an astronaut and visit the moon. Thus his need to steal the moon and at least fulfilling this one childhood dream. As if this, his loss of standing as Evil Villain of the world, and a young upstart thwarting his every plan at world domination wasn't enough. What would such a person need in order to make his life that much better?
Why to have three cute little orphans move in of course! Sure, it all starts as the perfect plan to use the kids in order to pull of his scheme to steal what he needs to complete his plan from Vector. But we all know how it's going to end up. Thus just like every movie that involves children from, “Big Daddy” to “Up,” Gru has to go through self discovery. He must struggle with reclaiming his position as Super Villain, steal the moon, get his mother's approval, learn the folly of his scheme, and basically learn the value of family.
I want to say the story line is tired and that this movie couldn't pull it off. But then I would be lying. The mishaps are indeed funny, all the heart warming and impending sadness are well enacted, and the over all theme of family shines even in Gru's world of insane villainy. It delivers on all important and expected ways. Though predictable and formulaic it tackles the subject matter creatively and different enough to make it an excellent movie. If nothing else I've learned the importance of minions and intend to get a few before I make any more plans of world conquest.
With that, I'll score it 4 death rays out of 5. I held back one because it is still the same old story. Even though it is not original enough to be totally killer it is very enjoyable to watch poor genius Gru deal with the many mishaps that come his way. I also may have failed myself seeing this in 2D. I'm sure the fart gun is more impressive in 3.
Farewell from the beasts and I,
'Til next we bleed,