Review: ‘Despicable Me’

The minions of 'Despicable Me'
Two of the many minions of 'Despicable Me'

Delightful and droll, Despicable Me is also refreshingly modest. And it’s fun.

All animated films fall under the shadow of mighty Pixar, which has set the gold standard. But that doesn’t mean that every animated film must follow the same pattern. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, Despicable Me is less story-driven and more gag-oriented than the typical Pixar outing, and less dialogue-oriented than the usual Dreamworks product. It plays like an interconnected series of skits and blackouts, tied together with the connective tissue of a featherweight fable.

Really, it’s a comic misadventure, featuring a villain as the good guy. Tall and dressed in black, Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) should be a fearsome sight, but instead he’s a bit pathetic and sad. We quickly learn that he only became a villain to win the affections of his unsupportive mother (voiced by Julie Andrews). He’s a lost little boy seeking approval.

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Review: Get Him to the Greek

“Your life’s to-do list must be a baffling document.”

Get Him to the Greek begins with an uproariously bad music video starring Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) and his longtime lover Jackie Q (a deliriously skanky Rose Byrne).  So bad is the video with its misbegotten save-the-children-as-self-interest message that it is considered “the worst thing to happen to Africa after war and famine.”  So funny is this opening segment with its rapid-fire visual gags that you have to wonder if the rest of the film can keep that dizzying pace.   The bad news is that Greek ends on a surprisingly sappy note;  the good news is that everything in between is consistently hilarious. Continue reading “Review: Get Him to the Greek”