Film Review: ‘Despicable Me’ With Steve Carell Falls Short of World Domination

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CHICAGO – “Despicable Me” is a mildly entertaining diversion on a summer afternoon. It’s a film that’s as equally difficult to hate as it is to love — kind of like its morally complex lead Gru (Steve Carell) — that falls just short of animation domination.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

It’s certainly possible that yet another summer masterpiece from Pixar (“Toy Story 3”) has made me cynical about animation from other studios but, to this viewer, “Despicable Me” doesn’t follow through on its clever opening act. That’s when we meet Gru, a super-villain who hasn’t recently pulled off a feat more impressive than stealing the Statue of Liberty from in front of New York, New York in Las Vegas. When his competition, the younger Vector (Jason Segel), silently lifts the pyramids of Egypt, Gru knows its time to do something more daring that merely freeze-raying the people ahead of him in line at Starbucks or face irrelevance.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Despicable Me” in our reviews section.

With the help of his minions — Twinkie-shaped, yellow creatures with eyes and limited vocabularies that should sell well at toy stores through the year — and Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), Gru hatches a plan to steal the moon. Yes, the entire moon. He’ll take a shrink ray into outer space, zap the moon, and carry it home in his astronaut suit. Small problem — Vector has the shrink ray Gru needs to finish the job.

To get the device so essential to his plan for universal domination, Gru plans to use the gawky super-villain’s love for cookies that are sold door-to-door by adorable orphan girls. So, he goes and adopts three awfully cute sisters – Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (Elsie Fisher), and Edith (Dana Gaier) – and tries to use them as he does his minions. Of course, he also has to parent the wide-eyed waifs and ends up, obviously, falling in love with them. Gru may have never been supported by his truly awful mother (Julie Andrews) but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a super-parent.

StarContinuing reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Despicable Me” review.

“Despicable Me” features voice work by Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Fisher. It was written by Ken Daurio and directed by Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud. It is rated PG and opens on July 9th, 2010.

Gru (Steve Carell) enjoys an amusement park.
Gru (Steve Carell) enjoys an amusement park.
Photo credit: Universal

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