July 18, 2010 -- “Despicable Me” is a cute kiddie-level animated feature about a less-than-notable super villain, who becomes a decent father despite his worst intentions. Although a lot of its jokes hit below the belt many of the characters are lovable and its heart is in the right place.
The super villain Gru is upstaged by an upstart named Vector who steals one of the great pyramids from Egypt, replacing it with an inflatable replica. Vowing to do something even more spectacular, he hits upon the idea of stealing the moon. However, the Bank of Evil will not loan him money for the project until he has acquired a machine which can shrink the moon down to a manageable size. His attempt to steal the shrink ray gun is foiled by Vector, who takes it away from him. His attempts to steal the machine from Vector are thwarted by Vector's defenses. Gru notices that three orphans selling cookies are able to get into Vector's fortress.
Gru decides to adopt the three orphans, planting special robot cookies in their deliveries to help him steal back the shrink ray. He of course gets more than he bargained for with the three girls. He is gradually transformed into a kind of father figure. There are complications along the way, however, and Gru does go ahead with his plan to steal the moon, with unforseen consequences. His elderly assistant, Dr. Nefario, objects to the children and tries to send them away. Throughout the story, Gru's tiny child-like minions and his fierce-looking dog are constantly popping up in odd places.
Gru becomes a hero, one of the most unlikely heroes in any movie. He is a somewhat complicated character in an otherwise simple movie. He has issues of rejection as a child. His mother, who is still around, is a constant reminder of his unhappy childhood. His feelings of inadequacy are multiplied every time he is upstaged by Vector. When it comes time to rescue his children Gru finally finds his true strength and courage. He never makes it as a world-class villain, but he is content to be a hero. This film rates a B.
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