Not that we did it flippantly or without consideration: We Googled and Bing’d a-plenty, looking for examples of why Despicable Me was rated PG. I even asked a couple of fellow parent bloggers for specifics after seeing their reviews (thanks, Daddy Geek Boy and Weirdgirl!).
Based on everything we heard and were told, we decided to take the plunge…
As evil supervillain Gru (Steve Carell) plans to steal the moon using a shrink-ray – with the help of his little yellow minions and the inventive Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) – the weapon is stolen from him by rival villain Vector (Jason Segel). Unable to penetrate Vector’s lair, Gru sees who does get access: three orphan girls (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Fisher) selling cookies. Gru then adopts the girls strictly for getting into Vector’s hideaway, but wouldn’t ya know…the girls grow on him, showing him how to love children despite his own loveless childhood under his domineering mother (Julie Andrews).
I gotta be honest: The trailers for Despicable Me didn’t offer me much hope for the film – mostly mediocre jokes, half of which relied on scatological humor for laughs. Luckily, the movie leaps past those promotions and delivers a commendable balance of humor and heart.
At its core, Despicable Me’s formula is familiar – kids warm the cold heart of a Grinch-type meanie – but directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud (with a script by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul) wrap an original story around this idea so it doesn’t feel like you’ve seen it a million times before. In fact, the film is a fresh, welcome entry to the ever-growing, ever-competitive world of animated films (imagine if Pixar and Dreamworks had a love child).
And while Gru may be the lead baddie here, it’s the minions who steal the show – a mob of thigh-high yellow workers who speak their own language of gibberish and follow Gru’s orders with slapstick-laden results.
While Despicable Me may not be a timeless classic – and Pixar has nothing to worry about – it’s definitely better than the majority of animated films being served up these days.
And here comes my pandering pull-quote for the ad...
“If you miss this movie, then despicable YOU!” – FilmFather
Is it suitable for your kids?Despicable Me is rated PG for “rude humor and mild action.” It features a noticeable amount of potty humor in various forms: Gru says “fart” and writes a Post-It note that says “PEE & POO;” the girls draw a picture of Gru sitting on the toilet; Gru’s mother shows the girls his baby photo with his bare bottom exposed; and Dr. Nefario mistakenly invents and demonstrates a “fart gun,” complete with a brown, billowy cloud. Also, some of the action sequences may be too intense for very young children (lots of loud explosions and screaming).
Will your FilmMother want to watch it?My FilmMother really enjoyed Despicable Me. I would think yours will as well.
* Directors: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
* Screenwriters: Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul
* Stars: Steve Carell, Russell Brand, Jason Segel, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher, Julie Andrews
* MPAA Rating: PG (rude humor and mild action)
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