Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
|Featuring:||Russell Brand (Dr. Nefario—voice), Ken Jeong (Scientist—voice), Jason Segel (Vector—voice), Steve Carell (Gru—voice), Miranda Cosgrove (Margo—voice), Will Arnett (Mr. Perkins—voice), Kristen Wiig (Miss Hattie—voice), Julie Andrews (Gru’s Mom—voice), more »|
|Director:||Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud|
|Producer:||Illumination Entertainment, John Cohen, Janet Healy, Christopher Meledandri, Nina Rappaport, Robert Taylor|
The sands of Egypt have just revealed that the Pyramid of Giza is a fake. This is just the latest theft of one of the world’s national treasures by some mysterious evil mastermind.
Enter Gru. Gru (Steve Carell) certainly fits the profile. Though he lives in the suburbs, he freezes people, at will, goes out of his way to upset children, and even has the requisite subterranean lair under his home—complete with an army of little yellow minions. Only, he didn’t steal the pyramid. A new and younger villain by the name of Vector (Jason Segel) did.
Needing to prove he is still at the top of his game, he begins planning the heist of the century; stealing the moon. Unfortunately, his comically nefarious ways begin to unravel when he becomes the caretaker of three orphaned little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes. The eldest, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), is the most cynical, but it’s the youngest, Agnes, that begins to see that Gru just may be the Dad they have been looking for.
Can Gru overcome his new nemeses in the race literally to the moon while taking care of three little girls that threaten to change his comfortably despicable life?
The Lord’s name is never taken in vain and the alternative “Oh My Gosh” is refreshingly used instead. When the most objectionable words uttered, by two characters exactly twice, are “Oh, poop,” you know you have a family-friendly film.
There is one somewhat objectionable scene involving a minion sitting on a copier, handing out photocopies of his butt, that was very out of place with the rest of the film. The producers no doubt felt this was acceptable, since the minions are not quite human nor very bright, but this does merit mentioning.
The orphanage, where the girls first come from, is run by Miss Hattie (Kristen Wiig) who seems only interested in the girls meeting their cookie sales goals and is not above putting kids who don’t in a “Box of Shame,” which is nothing more than a cardboard box so named.
There is comic violence throughout, though no real peril is suggested, and most of the laughs, and there are many, come from Steve Carell’s hilariously over-the-top presentation of Gru. There is one slight exception; when one of the girls enters a spike laden sarcophagus, it closes in on her and a liquid starts seeping through the bottom. It is very quickly seen to only be her juice box that got pierced.
Gru’s apparent penchant for evil is seen as rooted in his mother’s rejection of him as a child. As often as the young Gru, seen in flashback, shows something to his mother (Julie Andrews in a minor role), she just as quickly dismisses it and him. We are reminded what the Word of God says about the parent’s role in child-rearing and what a difference that would have made in Gru’s life.
“Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
All three girls are shown saying their prayers for the night, trusting in a future that they could not yet see, but would receive. Just as we should pray in faith to our Father in heaven knowing he will take care of us.
Gru had always been seeking to impress his mom with bigger and better schemes, to no avail. Only when he begins to live for others does he truly become alive and surprisingly find the acceptance he was looking for. How comforting is it to know that, in a much better way, God himself will provide what we truly desire, as the Psalmist reminds us:
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4)
“Despicable Me” is as entertaining, charming and funny as you would hope a family film to be. Steve Carell does his comic best, and the change in his character is done slowly and believably. An otherwise brief dive into potty humor does not dampen the end result: a fun film for the family, that should entertain all ages. Regarding the 3D version, while the kids will appreciate the dedicated effects from time to time, including those in the credits, 3D is not necessary to enjoy this film.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.