is a compelling animated comedy about an aging supervillain's falling popularity at the hands of a younger supervillain and three young orphan girls. Gru is a true, bad-to-the-core evildoer who's earned the title of the world's No. 1 supervillain. But when young upstart Vector steals the Pyramid of Giza, Gru's status suddenly sinks to No. 2. Gru counters his fall by speeding up his plan to shrink and steal the moon, enlisting the help of his army of minions and the elderly Dr. Nefario, but a lack of funding and the difficulties involved in stealing the needed shrink-ray gun threaten to derail everything. Adopting three young orphan girls is an unlikely, but seemingly effective means to further Gru's evil mission, but Gru quickly discovers that caring for three young girls is more work, and distraction, than he could ever have anticipated. What unfolds is an unexpected shift in attitude that will forever change the lives of Gru, Vector, and all three young girls. A visually appealing film produced by Chris Meledandri (Ice Age
, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
, and Horton Hears a Who
), Despicable Me
is full of weirdly shaped characters and settings that are somehow a perfect fit for Sergio Pablos's story. What's especially refreshing is that in this film, 3-D effects are used skillfully and effectively: even when the effects are exploited for comic reasons, they don't become a distraction, as is all too common in many recent movies. The film is full of corny banter and silly antics that inspire plenty of spontaneous laughter, and the minions, while not the best-developed characters, sure are comical. Ultimately, there's also a wholesome message about following one's heart. Steve Carell is the perfect villain-gone-soft in his role as Gru, Jason Segal is quite funny as Vector, and Julie Andrews makes a surprising appearance as Gru's very un-motherly mom. The story isn't new, the humour is relatively juvenile and somewhat forgettable, and it's no Toy Story 3
, but Despicable Me
celebrates silliness in a way that's satisfying and highly entertaining. (Ages 6 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
A MYSTERIOUS CRIMINAL MASTERMIND HAS STOLEN ONE OF THE PYRAMIDS IN EGYPT, SPARKING A FIT OF JEALOUS ENVY IN EVIL GENIUS GRU (STEVE CARELL), WHO HASN'T MANAGED TO MAKE HEADLINES SINCE HE AND HIS MINIONS SWIPED THE TIMES SQUARE JUMBOTRON YEARS BACK. EVER SINCE GRU WAS A LITTLE BOY, HE DREAMED OF GOING TO THE MOON. NOW, IF GRU CAN JUST BUILD A ROCKET AND GET HIS HANDS ON A POWERFUL SHRINK-RAY, HE CAN CEMENT HIS REPUTATION AS THE GREATEST THIEF WHO EVER LIVED BY STEALING THE EARTH'S SATELLITE RIGHT OUT OF THE SKY. BUT IMMEDIATELY AFTER GRU HEISTS THE SHRINK-RAY, THE CUNNING SUPER-NERD VECTOR (JASON SEGEL) SWOOPS IN AND SNATCHES IT RIGHT OUT OF HIS HANDS. NOW, IN ORDER TO CLAIM THE MOON, GRU MUST FIRST REACQUIRE THE WEAPON FROM VECTOR. ARMED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT HIS NEMESIS HAS A MEAN SWEET TOOTH, GRU ADOPTS COOKIE-SELLING ORPHANS MARGO (MIRANDA COSGROVE), AGNES (ELSIE FISHER), AND EDITH (DANA GAIER) AND COMMISSIONS A NEW LINE OF COOKIE ROBOTS FROM THE EVIL DR. NEFARIO (RUSSELL BRAND), HIS PERSONAL WEAPONS SPECIALIST. BUT AS GRU AND HIS DIMINUTIVE YELLOW MINIONS PREPARE TO CARRY OUT THE BIGGEST HEIST IN HISTORY, SOMETHING STRANGE HAPPENS. GRU DISCOVERS THAT THE THREE LITTLE GIRLS WHO HAVE COME INTO HIS LIFE ARE MUCH MORE THAN SIMPLE PAWNS. THEY ACTUALLY SEEM TO CARE ABOUT GRU, AND IT TURNS OUT THE SCHEMING EVILDOER MAKES A PRETTY GOOD FATHER. WHEN GRU REALIZES THAT HIS UPCOMING MOON MISSION CLASHES WITH A BALLET PERFORMANCE BY THE GIRLS, HE MUST DECIDE WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT - BEING A PRESENT PARENT OR CEMENTING HIS NEFARIOUS REPUTATION ONCE AND FOR ALL.