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Monday, November 03, 2014

Movie Review:Despicable Me

Premise:Trying to be the world's most cunning criminal, a would-be villain adopts three little girls to help him in his plot.

Cast:Steve Carell as Gru, Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, Dana Gaier as Edith, Elsie Fisher as Agnes, Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario, Jason Segel as Vector, Will Arnett as Mr. Perkins, Kristen Wiig as Miss Hattie, Julie Andrew's as Gru's mom

Directors:Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin

MPAA Rating:PG for rude humor and mild action

Genres:Comedy, animation, fantasy

Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards and belongs to Universal.

Pros:It's funny. The main character.

Cons:Over-the-top antagonist. Bad secondary characters. Thin plot. Its portrayal of how adoption works.

Now what's a would-be-supervillain to do when someone pulls off the crime of the century and makes every other villain look pathetic? You top him of course. But expect a few complications along the way.

I don't really like Vector as a villain. He's over-the-top, obnoxious, and kind of annoying. It would have been more interesting to see an old rival of Gru's get into the mix. Other secondary characters that are hard to like include Gru's rather mean mother, Dr. Nefario, the bank manager obsessed with Gru being too old, and Miss Hattie, the child-hating orphan caretaker.

But on the bright side, it does manage to be funny. Gru's attempts at evil both work and often fail hilariously. You get the feeling he tries too hard. The girls aren't so bad either. And who could forget the minions?

If you dislike movies that portray adoption badly or unrealistically, you probably should skip this. The lady running the orphanage is mean to the girls there and sometimes makes them stay in a box of shame over a few days. Plus, Gru adopts his three young charges by walking in and listing off his accomplishments.

There are a few things in the plot that don't make sense, are pretty predictable, or just make you shake your head. First, there's the whole implausibility of the evil plan. The girls still sell cookies even after leaving the orphanage, when they were selling specifically for the mean lady there. Plus, a few ways the characters react to things (Gru acts like he never saw the pillars in the bank) in a way that makes you wonder "Why?"

Overall, it's not terrible and might be worth a look.

Sex:Gru's mom shows the girls photos of their new dad when he was young. One is a naked baby picture ("Look at his little buns") and the other shows him in his Sunday best. One kid says he looks like a girl; Mom adds an ugly one at that. Minions take photocopies of their butts. Vector does a pelvic thrust and rubs a keyboard against his butt. Gru ends up in his boxers. A picture of Dr. Nefario in a bathing suit shows up. A man grabs his own rear end during a dance while another spanks himself.

Violence:Lots of slapstick. Gru, Vector, minions, and a few other characters are smacked, kicked, knocked around, frozen, bitten, squashed, blown up, and otherwise abused for laughs. A little boy falls onto a stone structure, except it turns out to be inflatable. He then flies through the air after he bounces. Agnes enters an iron maiden which then closes. Red liquid pours out, but this turns out to be juice. Gru gives his new kids pancakes shaped like knives, skulls, and corpses. His dog snarls at Agnes, who simply wants to cuddle with her new pet.
An attempt to break into a rival's home results in Gru getting attacked by a shark, blasted by rockets, and smacked in the face and crotch. To show how evil he is, he has furniture and home decor made from endangered animals, carries and displays weapons, freezes people, crushes cars while parking, and jokes about dead dogs.
Aircraft is shrunk, fired at, or destroyed. A few scenes take place dangerously high above the ground. Edith plays with weapons, causing some less-than-comfortable situations for Gru. The girls sleep in beds made out of old bombs. Their new parent tells them that the bombs are highly unlikely to explode, but they probably shouldn't toss and turn. Vector gets zapped with electricity. A rocket wildly spins a carousel with kids on it. Someone is stranded in space.

Drugs/Alcohol:A redneck is shown guarding a giant can of beer with a gun. Gru has what might be an alcoholic drink with dinner (though it could be water).

Language/Insults:All G-rated. "Oh poop" is used the way one might say "oh crap." Gru tells a woman she has a face como un burro ("as a donkey"). Gru's mom belittles his dream to go to the moon by telling him NASA isn't sending the monkeys anymore. Other words used include "suckers", "lame", "butt", and "shoot".

Gross stuff:Gru's request for a dart gun was misheard as fart gun. Said weapon is given a brief demonstration. Agnes eats an old Cheeto, much to her sisters' disgust. Edith prays that no bugs will crawl into her or her sisters' ears and lay eggs in their brains, getting sarcastic thanks from Margo. Gru complains about his neighbor's dog leaving "little bombs" in his yard. A guy gets a wedgie. Someone shoots a piece of popcorn from his nose. Another guy picks his. The girls draw a picture of Gru on the toilet.

Spiritual:A shepherd in a turban appears at the beginning, then gets knocked over by a tourist bus. The girls pray before bed. A werewolf briefly appears.

So what was your opinion?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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