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Don't Bank at the Bank of Evil? Mr. Gru Does!

Movie Review: Despicable Me (2010)
Spoilers: none

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Despicable Me
, with the voice talents of Steve Carell and Will Arnett, is like The Grinch Stole Christmas, but made for any other time of year, the primary character being Gru (Steve Carell, voice), a shady-eyed, world-class villain who makes it his all to be the best villain in the history of humankind. He fails not to strive to make mom (Julie Andrews, voice) happy with the same accomplishments. 

And he's almost there, being surpassed at the start only by one villain named Vector (Jason Segel, voice) whose calling card as of late has been to steal the great pyramids and replace them with life-sized blow-up models.

Outdone, Gru has for years made it his mission to steal the moon in precisely the same fashion. In order to do that, he needs a shrinking ray, which in order to get, he needs a loan from the Bank of Evil. Yes, in this caricature-ishly cute universe, outlaw villains have their own bank and lenders reserved just for them. No need to worry about IRS audits or money trails being investigated by the authorities.

And it's a good thing, too, because a selfish and bitter Mr. Gru is striving not to fall anymore behind in his quota of profit-returning evil inventions. But his task is destined to become much more difficult upon meeting three little adorable orphan girls – Margo, Edith, and Agnes – (Mirando Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Fisher, voice) whom he supposes can help him ruin a nerdically competent Mr. Vector and his plans.

Despicable Me is as high-functioning as it is cute and creative, and as heartwarming as The Cat in the Hat, with plenty of focus on details for the adults, long overshooting the expectations of the little ones. While available in 3D, Despicable Me lacks the eye-luring luster of this year's How to Train Your Dragon or the fast-moving excitement of 2008's action-packed Kung Fu Panda. But it is no less delightful viewing, with characters so original and lovable that it takes freakishly unreal expectations to be let down.

Naturally, the animation is part of the humor, with an always too fun exaggeration of facial features to compliment a script that will put Despicable Me among the better films of the year.

(JH)
   
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Grade: A- (4 stars) Recommended!
Rated: PG (for rude humor and mild action)
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Summary: When a criminal mastermind uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand scheme, he finds himself profoundly changed by the growing love between them.
Starring: Steve Carell "Gru" (voice), Jason Segel "Vector" (voice), Russell Brand "Dr. Nefario" (voice), Julie Andrews "Gru's Mom" (voice), Will Arnett "Mr. Perkins" (voice), Kristen Wiig "Miss Hattie" (voice), Miranda Cosgrove "Margo" (voice), Dana Gaier "Edith" (voice), Elsie Fisher "Agnes" (voice)
Genre: Animation / Comedy / Family
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