Evil geniuses just aren’t as smart as they used to be. Just like Austin Powers’ nemesis Dr Evil, Despicable Me’s Gru (Carrell) doesn’t do so well at the bad guy stuff (he stole the Statue of Liberty model from Las Vegas instead of the real thing, etc). This time, however, from deep in his black house nestled in everyday suburbia, he is plotting the ultimate crime… to steal the moon! With the help of his cute army of minions (adorable little yellow guys) and inventor Dr Nefario (Brand), he plans to shrink the moon, snatch it, and be crowned the greatest villain of all time.
Unfortunately there’s another bad guy in the neighbourhood, Vector (Segel), who has just wowed the world by stealing the giant Pyramid. Gru can’t infiltrate Vector’s high-tech lair and thwart his plans… until he happens upon three cute orphaned kiddies selling cookies door to door. Gru’s plan is to take the trio into his home and then use them to get Vector to open his door with the promise of sugary treats. After all, who can say no to three sweet little girls? Certainly not Gru, the man who used to freeze people in the queue in front of him in Starbucks, but who begins to thaw with fatherless Margo, Edith and Agnes under his roof. Awww.
In a similar vein to movies like The Incredibles, Shrek and Monsters Inc, this has nice touches of humour throughout that will appeal to adults (the Bank of Evil that Gru visits was formerly called Lehman Brothers, for example), while the action zips along nicely to keep kids entertained, and there are some sillier jokes, slapstick moments and a breathtaking rollercoaster ride for them, too. Funny stuff for all ages, but do note some of the humour is a little dark. The film was released in 3-D in cinemas (and the aforementioned rollercoaster looked fantastic).
Is Despicable Me suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Little ones may find Gru himself scary as he has a long noise and very angular face.
The orphanage where the girls live isn’t very nice and the punishment for naughty children is to be kept in a box, which may upset small viewers. Also, kids may be upset by the fact that the girls have always been passed over for adoption.
Some children may find the character of the bank manager a bit frightening – he is very imposing (but doesn’t do anything scary).
A scene in which one of the girls walks into a coffin filled with spikes at Gru’s house, and the door shuts, may scare children as ‘blood’ oozes out (she’s fine – the blood turns out to be from a punctured carton of juice).