- Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud (Directorial Debuts)
- June 19, 2010 (MIFF) / July 9, 2010 (United States)
- Gru-Steve Carell
- Vector-Jason Segel
- Dr. Nefario-Russell Brand
- Margo-Miranda Cosgrove
- Edith-Dana Gaier
- Agnes-Elsie Fisher
- Marlena Gru-Julie Andrews
- Kevin, Tim, Bob, Mark, Phil, and Stuart-Pierre Coffin
- Dave-Chris Renaud
- Jerry-Jemaine Clement
As part of his plot to steal a shrink ray, a supervillain adopts a trio of kids, but they soon become more than a way to accomplish his goals.
In the world here mad scientist supervillains are just a normal part of everyday existence. Despicable Me takes the conventions of the supervillain and makes them silly. The villain needs a bank loan to accomplish his plot? He lives in the burbs? How is Gru not in jail when his whole occupation is committing crimes and he is not really hiding? But you do not even think about it because of the world they create. This film comically remixes supervillain tropes with the becoming a better person because I have to take care of kids plot.
This movie is just a plain fun from beginning to end. But it is also fun with emotion. Gru is not a malevolent character but just a guy following his career goals while seeking the approval of his mother who in flashbacks is always disappointed in him or taking swipes that damage his confidence. Wait! Is he emotionally abused? This movie got dark.
After having failed to take it himself, Gru is desperate to steal a shrink ray from a rival villain named Vector (who turns out to be the son of Mr. Perkins who runs the Bank of Evil). After trying unsuccessfully to break into Vector’s compound he sees that these three young orphan girls-Margo, Edith, and Agnes-gain access rather easily simply by selling cookies. So he adopts them to keep them just long enough to steal the shrink ray and accomplish his plan of stealing the moon.
Gru has no idea what to do with children. He is clueless and stumbles regularly but his failures bring him closer to the kids. As the film goes along Gru’s heart in particular begins to melt under the intense affection of the youngest girl. His priorities change and he begins to realize that this whole super villain anything is not really for him and that being a family man is what he wants. Interestingly becoming a good father is what earns him the approval of his mother.
You cannot talk about this movie without discussing the Minions. They are just weird creatures that poorly serve our villainous hero and have the attention span of a cat with a laser pointer. I can certainly see why these creatures endeared themselves so quickly to audiences and eventually got their own film. They are just silly and their antics are very non-Sequitur. They are spiritual cousins to Air Traffic Controller Johnny Henshaw-Jacobs (Stephen Stucker) from Airplane! Their language is called “Minionese” and I have no idea if they are actually saying anything or if it is all just gibberish.
Despicable Me is that rare quality family film that also got a PG rating. I am not sure what earned it a PG rating though. The humor can get a little dark. At one point Gru threatens a neighbor’s dog. But it is nothing that is upsetting because at that point Gru is still very evil. An evil character should be able to be evil.
The story has plenty of soft laughs and really runs with the mad scientist vs. mad scientist concept. Gru’s mad plot is the corny kind you would find in a bad 50s comic. And in my opinion it has a mildly retro look.
Despicable Me is a great comedy that mixes two very different plot ideas into one entertaining story. The animation looks great and the script is just very well done. Watch it!