Despicable Me

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.

Written by Ken Daurio (screenplay), Sergio Pablos (story) and Cinco Paul (screenplay)
Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud

Starring the voice talents of:  Steve Carrell, Jason Segel, Julie Andrews, Russell Brand, Will Arnet, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher, Jemaine Clement, Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud etc.

Rating:  PG for rude humour and mild action

I had been really looking forwad to the release of this DVD and have to say that I got a real kick out of it. I especially appreciated the dark humour brought to this film as much as I enjoyed the sweet comedy of the orphans and slapstick zaniness of the minions.  I love Steve Carrell's take on the Gru character and can't help but try to mimic his accent around the house. Julie Andrew's plays her part so well, that I had to re think the entire movie through to figure out what character she played.  Once I knew she was in it, it wasn't hard to figure out she played Gru's mother but the fact that I missed it the first time around was something since I'm usually dead on picking out voices. 

The theme while certainly not a new one is reminiscent of the old Spy vs. Spy comics.  It also plays on the old standard theme of bad guy turns good.  Still, there is so much going on in this film, twists and turns of the plot, that it keeps even the adults interested right to the end.  Your heart warms to the plight of the three little orphans and can easily sympathize with Gru and his desire to be successful even it is at being bad. 

Having said all that, lets discuss the parental concerns. The rating for this movie is PG.  Now given the level of violence in the old Bugs Bunny and Road Runner shows not to mention many more contemporary kids shows to date, I can't help but feel it's somewhat over rated.  I did allow my children (7, 5 and 3.5) to watch this film and can't say I regret doing so. 

I did talk to one mom who said she didn't like the movie very much because what stood out to her was all the lying the characters did to one another and I have to say that is a valid point. Gru tells a lot of lies to adopt the orphans, lies to the girls and lies to his helper.  Even Dr. Nefarious lies to get the girls sent back to the orphanage. 

So those that are more desirous of sheltering their children should be aware of the following concerns:

Violence and Gore:  Mild slapstick humor throughout. A lot of the gags are derived from the unusual and dangerous surroundings that they are now living in. IE, a child steps into an iron maiden which then closes on her. What looks to be blood is seen leaking from inside and the other girls are horrified.  When the iron maiden is re-opened it turns out her juice box was pierced and leaking.

Profanity:  Very mild language; "fart", "butt", etc.

Frightening/Intense Scenes

There is a chase scene near the end of the film. Girls lives are endangered. 

Adoption or Group Homes are portrayed in a negative light.  Children are forced to sell cookies for the orphanage and those that fail are put in the box of shame.  Maybe somewhat disconcerting to children about to enter into foster care system.  But not a new theme by any means. 

Sex and Nudity:   Minions draw a picture of Gru sitting on a toilet.  At one point the Minions are sitting on a photocopier taking copies of their butts.

As always, if you have concerns about a movie, my best recommendation to you is to pre-screen it before showing it to your children.  Time and time again we've been glad we did.

What have you watched lately?

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