Film #73: Despicable Me (2010)

despicable-medirected by: Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin
length: 95 minutes
language: English
watched on: 23 December 2012

I quickly realised on the plane that all the interesting movies were basically in the family section, and thus I ended up watching Despicable Me, a movie I’d missed when it came out in the cinemas a few years ago. It was alright; the expected fare from a kids’ movie, to be honest. Rather simplistic but with the odd joke thrown in for adults.

The central premise is that the main character Gru is in the villainous (and ridiculous) business of stealing landmarks, gets outdone by an upstart, and decides to try and steal the moon, with the help of some orphan girls (for some contrived reason that I’ve forgotten) who steal his heart. This works out into quite a sweet story and actually works alright in the end, as they realise that they quite like each other.

As a character, despite his “evil” intentions and being surrounded by stereotypically evil things, Gru doesn’t seem to be that bad a guy. He’s surrounded by countless minions, who are weird yellow aliens, and yet seems to know all of them personally by name, suggesting that he’s actually not a bad employer. But he was voiced by Steve Carell, who for some reason did a ridiculous Russian accent. In 2010? I thought we were past that. Or are we lampooning old habits now? I facepalmed a little bit when I realised his assistant had a London accent. Oh come on.

The girl characters are fun, if predictable, and I enjoyed how they all went to the funfair together and realised that they’re all quite alike. I didn’t like the portrayal of their orphanage, though. It was some kind of ridiculous, draconian institution headed by a caricature of Miss Trunchbull who locks girls in a tiny box at the slightest infraction. I just think that in real life orphanages probably aren’t as bad as that, and it’s a bit disrespectful to kids that do live in those environments to imply that they are.

Funnier than I expected, anyway.

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