I’ve managed to catch up with a few of the many summer films that the major studios have pinned their hopes on. Let me start with two films that might be worth your time. The animated, 3-D Despicable Me is a joy from beginning to end, including the closing credits (stay for them).
Steve Carell voices Gru, a supervillain (with financial support from the Bank of Evil) whose grandiose schemes have resulted in diminishing financial returns.
He also faces stiff competition from Vector, the brash young new villain on the block (he’s successfully stolen the Great Pyramid of Egypt!). Desperate to prove his supervillainous worth, Gru enlists the (unwitting) aid of three orphans, as well as his loyal minions and the esteemed Dr. Nefario, to accomplish the greatest feat of villainy yet: shrinking the moon and holding it for ransom. Now if this sounds nonsensical in print, it makes for a funny, sharp, occasionally tender romp in which a hardhearted villain is softened, true villains are defeated, and the diminutive minions come close to stealing the show. Carell makes a suitably accented, imposing yet bumbling Gru; the three orphans are adorable; the film’s creators (directors Pierre Griffin, Chris Renaud, Sergio Pablos along with writers Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul) have managed to accomplish the feat of producing a witty, visually appealing, gag laden work that will entertain kids and the parents they take along. Well worth seeing.