Movie Review: Despicable Me (2010)

Gru (Steve Carell) and his minions in Despicable Me
Photo: Universal Pictures

Despicable Me is a welcome animated entry into Summer 2010 and may prove to be Universal's very own How To Train Your Dragon. This is to say it's a film that pushes aside the need for pop culture references and poop jokes (outside of the addition of a "fart gun") with a larger interest in telling a fun and entertaining story. In fact, contrary to its title, many will likely describe Despicable Me as a "sweet" story centered on the likable villain Gru voiced by Steve Carell.

Despicable Me
Grade: B+

Despicable Me"Despicable Me" is a Universal Pictures release, directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and is rated PG for rude humor and mild action. The running time is .

The cast includes Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Danny R. McBride, Will Arnett, Julie Andrews, Kristen Wiig, Jemaine Clement, Jack McBrayer, Miranda Cosgrove, Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud and Ken Jeong.

Gru has stolen the Statue of Liberty... from Las Vegas. He's stolen the Times Square Jumbotron as well as the Eiffel Tower... also from Las Vegas. Despite these "accomplishments" he's looked at as a failed villain, but his next heist is likely to earn him more fame than he could possibly imagine. He's planning on stealing the moon!

Surrounded by thousands of unintelligible and hilarious "minions" (think rubber Twinkies with eyeballs), aided by Dr. Nefario (voiced by Russell Brand) and yearning for the love of his mother, Gru has everything he needs to pull off the heist... that is except for the shrink ray that will turn the moon into a pocket-sized trinket he can safely transport back to Earth. But that's a plot point best left for you to discover on your own.

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud this film takes every imaginable emotion and runs it through the ringer with "cute" being the descriptor that shines most prominently by the end of the film. In order for Gru to fulfill his mission he adopts three orphans - Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) - and as if that wasn't enough cookie robots play a role in this caper's outcome. If that isn't cute than I don't know what is.

Carell voices Gru with something of a Russian accent that for some reason reminded me of the Scottish accent Mike Myers used for Shrek, but all I could think about was how much more I liked this character. He may be a villain, but it isn't long before his growing relationship with his three adopted daughters wins you over.

And despite being a villain, Gru doesn't punish his little worker minions as they seem to look upon him as a loving father rather than an evil overlord. This isn't a movie hell-bent on projecting evil or cheap laughs. It appeals to both genders with cool gadgets and explosions for the boys and unicorns and bedtime stories for the girls. It's a kid's film at heart, and that heart is exactly what both the youngsters and adults in the audiences will come to enjoy.

The voices of Jason Segel and Russell Brand are hardly recognizable, but Segel in particular really delivers as Gru's nemesis, the new villain on the block, Vector. You'll recognize the voice of "30 Rock's" Jack McBrayer in an excellent carnival scene that serves as the moment in the film it really turns the corner and excels until the end. Names such as Jemaine Clement ("The Flight of the Conchords") and Danny McBride (Pineapple Express) voice a pair of Gru's minions, but I dare you to figure out which ones (I couldn't). And Will Arnett and Kristen Wiig also add their voices to the production and unless you're trying to figure just who they play you'll likely be too caught up in the film to worry about that either.

Fact is, this is just a fun film. If I were to even try and point out a flaw it would be to say it's a rather busy flick as the plot rarely calms down for a breather. But it's hard to fault a film that may try a bit too hard, and in the process never ends up failing. Despicable Me is a winner through and through and one I expect families may be eager to see more than once.


More Movie Reviews

'Straight Outta Compton' (2015) Movie ReviewB-

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

'Mistress America' (2015) Movie ReviewB+

Mistress America (2015)

'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' (2015) Movie ReviewB

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

'Cop Car' (2015) Movie ReviewB-

Cop Car (2015)

More Reviews
  • Feedback

    I was never really high on this movie. Do you think this will get an Oscar-nom or do you think Dragon, Toy Story and Tangled have those spots reserved?

    • Kevin Blumeyer

      Keep in mind that there's always a chance that 5 films could get nominated, depending on how many are submitted for consideration. That was the case last year.

      • Feedback

        I think 5 is too much... there aren't that many "GREAT" Animated movies. Last year, it was obvious that Coraline and The Secret of Kells were incredible, but just not on the level of Up, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Princess and the Frog.

        How to Train your Dragon, Tangled and Toy Story 3 seem like sure bets this year. If it goes up to 5, I guess this one and Megamind will make it. I doubt Alpha & Omega, the owls one or Rio will.

  • randy

    i really like all these actors in movies. Jason Segel can turn any movie into comedy gold no matter how small or big the role. Him being in this movie makes me want to see this !

  • BR

    I thought the film was boring. I expected some great humor and left disappointed. Predators was a better film, despite the weak ending.

  • darkknightfan12

    Coraline was better than Up. Don't hate me.

    • BR

      I agree

      • Kevin Blumeyer

        Mr. Fox for me.

  • Tommy

    Such an uber funny/entertaining movie. :D
    I'll have to agree with your B+

  • gs.themovieguy

    I was so impressed with this movie. Everything was just spot on. It was laugh out loud, there was plenty of heart, and the 3D effects were the best I've seen all year. I would even go as far to say it was as good, if not better than toy story 3.

  • hjjh

    i lahgfted so hard i almost cryed