Despicable Me

After someone steals the Great Pyramid, mean-spirited Gru is put under pressure to prove to the world (and his mom) that he’s still a profitable villain. But the sarcastic and confident bachelor has the perfect plan – to steal the moon. To complete his missive he must infiltrate a rival villain’s lair and seize a shrink ray gun. Thankfully, his enemy has a soft spot for the cookies sold by the girls from the orphanage. Gru adopts three sisters to use as a ploy, but he soon realizes he may have bitten off more than he can handle.

Accompanied by his army of adorable “minions,” Gru is forced onto a roller coaster ride (literally) where he has to decide which is more important – being a super villain, or being a super dad. Despicable Me captures the chaotic tale with slapstick humor and crazy characters. The sweet storyline and goofy minions stole my heart instantly, but the content of the film left me with mixed feelings. Here’s why.

The Super Good

The plot is a classic tale of reformation – Gru loses his heart to the rambunctious orphan girls and begins to waver in his pursuit of evil. Even though we’ve seen it before, the transformation from self-centered to loving is no less wholesomely charming.

One aspect of the film I found surprising and endearing is Gru’s relationship with his minions. Unlike many careless evil overlords, Gru knows his minions by name and seems to have a working friendship with them. He is a fair employer and they are happily loyal to his projects. The positive attitude in Gru’s lair is quite refreshing and sweet.

Gru struggles with being rejected as a failure. His plans and dreams are mocked by the bank that supplies his funding, just as they were scorned by his mother during his childhood. This rejection is rebuked as Gru learns to support the girls’ pastimes and hobbies.

The Super Bad

Despite all of the charm of the story, the movie is tainted by rather prolific use of crude humor. There are frequent gags involving bathroom humor, underwear, and immodest gestures; there are even a few shots with nudity obscured just enough to keep it PG. There are also a few instances were death, blood, and villainy are portrayed as funny in an off-kilter fashion. This is, unfortunately, a significant concern regarding the movie.

While it is not necessarily unwarranted, the girls – particularly the eldest – are far from well-behaved. They do not listen to Gru’s orders at first and are quite hard to manage. While this helps him come around, it is worth noting that the girls’ attitude is not admirable.

One thing about the film I found kind of confusing is the nature of the orphanage. The head mistress is not a caring person and is sometimes a bit unethical. While the film does not portray this as good, I felt that it was a bit unrealistic and shouldn’t have gone unaddressed.

In Closing

Despicable Me is an adorable story with quirky characters. I enjoyed it and will perhaps watch it again on occasion, but the crude humor prevents the film from being something I can enjoy repeatedly. If you watch it, prepare the fall in love with the minions – but if you’re looking for clean fare, I would suggest picking up a different movie.

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