‘Despicable Me’ is irresistible fun

  • By Robert Horton Herald Columnist
  • Thursday, July 8, 2010 6:27pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

The anti-hero of “Despicable Me” cuts quite a figure: His penguinlike posture, skinny legs and beaked nose make him hard to miss in the world’s pantheon of super-villains.

And Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) wants to be the best — or the worst, depending on how you measure. His super-villainy is so great that popping the balloons of little children is no longer enough; he wants to steal the moon.

Before stealing the moon he’ll have to shrink it (like, duh), so a great deal of the plot of this 3-D animated film has Gru attempting to seize the world’s only ultra-shrinking device, which is currently in the possession of a competing super-villain, Vector (Jason Segel).

This duel of the meanies is tempered by the presence of three little orphan girls, who are adopted by Gru — not because his heart has suddenly grown 10 times its size, but because they will be useful to him in getting the incredible shrinking machine.

You can see that the makers of “Despicable Me” have taken an unusual route to the kid-friendly multiplex, with their dastardly main character and his series of unfortunate events. Yes, Shrek was an ogre, but Gru does such nefarious things that a preview audience seemed caught between guilty laughter and a sense of disapproval.

Kids, however, will probably like the movie — not just for the three little heroines, but also for Gru’s army of yellow-blob assistants, known as Minions. The Minions shake a lot and have high-pitched giggles, and they not only carry out their boss’s orders but also submit to his many odd experiments.

The outline is like “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” as we expect that the villainous central character will have his attitude adjusted before the end. That all works out as expected.

Carell does a goofy Russian-style accent (with hints of Arnold Schwarzenegger), and Russell Brand and Will Arnett supply amusing voices in support.

But not that amusing: given the talent involved, “Despicable Me” is really funny only in spots, and in many scenes the timing is off. But again, kids shouldn’t mind.

And the 3-D? Except for a few moments—notably involving Gru’s long nose—the 3-D isn’t exploited much. But stay for the end credits, when a few lingering Minions play around with the three-dimensional process.

“Despicable Me”½

This animated comedy presents an anti-hero: Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), who aspires to be the world’s greatest villain by stealing the Moon. The outline of the movie is “Grinch”-like, and kids will like the Minions, Gru’s blob-like assistants, but this movie just isn’t funny enough to reach classic status.

Rated: PG for subject matter

Showing: Alderwood, Cinebarre Mountlake Terrace, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Olympic, Stanwood, Metro, Pacific Place, Woodinville

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