Picture
Starring: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand
Writers:
Ken Daurio/Cinco Paul (Story by Sergio Pablos)
Directors:
Pierre Coffin/Chris Renau
Distributor: Universal Pictures

Despicable Me stars Steve Carell as the voice of Gru, a supervillain who is in the twilight of his career. After being upstaged by pyramid stealing newcomer Vector (Jason Segel), Gru hatches a plan with sidekick Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) to shrink and steal the moon. When the plan goes awry thanks to interference by Vector and a denied bank loan, Gru tries to rectify this by adopting three orphan girls Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) to help him out. When the plan is a success, Gru thinks he is done with them, but the three girls manage to warm his heart and he finds out that he likes being a father much more than he would have. Their lives, however, begin interfering with his master plan and he must make the decision of being evil and stealing the moon or being an excellent father to his new kids.

The humor in Despicable Me runs the gamut, from kid humor to adult humor and on the whole it is amusing, if not very laugh out loud funny. Carell as Gru uses an over the top Russian accent, but his brand of awkward humor and improvised-sounding delivery is perfectly in-tact. Carell manages to make some mundane lines funny and I found myself laughing at him far more than I was planning on. However, the brunt of the humor is spent with the Minions, these little yellow beings who speak in a weird language and spend their lives doing Gru's bidding. Despite this being a comedy, the Minions are treated as comedic relief and are shoehorned into little scenes in between the main story to act goofy and hit each other with things (making it feel like the filmmakers are yelling "GET IT! THEY ARE CUTE! AND FUNNY! LAUGH! LAAAAAAAAAAUGH!"). Now don't get me wrong; the Minions are cute and everything, but Despicable Me had enough going for it with the main cast (Carell and Brand have excellent rapport with each other) that they didn't need to just show up at random points to make me laugh.

Kids in my theater, however, seemed to love these guys and that's probably why they are featured so prominently. While I didn't find them funny, all the children were laughing their heads off when they were hitting in each other and wagging their tongues and all sorts of "not funny to me" stuff.

It also pains me to say it, but Jason Segel as Vector was possibly one of the most annoying characters I have seen so far this year. His catchphrase ("OH YEAH!") and his manic delivery were not only not funny, but made me want to walk out many times. For the main villain to be so unbearable is a no no; I get we need to sympathize with Gru and everything, but Vector could have been toned down a lot. By a lot, I mean a lot.

Despicable Me's story is painfully generic and filled with absolutely no surprises; you can pretty much guess how this by the numbers movie is going to work before it even tells you. The world itself is interesting, but it's under developed and my nit-picky mind was asking thousands of questions about it ("where is the Law Enforcement?" and "how does no one seem to know/care that the main villains live in SUPER LAIRS?" were the two that kept floating back into my head). Again, it is a kid's movie and everything, but kids aren't the only ones who are going to have to watch it, you know?

Despite some clever lines and jokes, and excellent performances by Carell and Brand, Despicable Me is just another mediocre kids movie. The story is generic and the world is filled with tons of plot holes that can end up bogging you down if you're a curmudgeon like I am. However it is pretty damn cute (the carnival scene featured in the trailers, minus the "KNOCKED OOOOOVER!" line is adorable), and if you have kids, they are guaranteed to enjoy this, especially the Minions (even if you want them to just disappear by the end of it). A mediocre watch.


Final Verdict:
C

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