Aug 2, 2010
No movie this year had funnier previews than “Despicable Me”. I’ll admit I have a penchant for animated movies, but from the moment the first preview hit the screen, “Despicable Me” topped the list of movies I really wanted to see. As the weeks wore on, every new preview only looked more appealing.
While the film is undoubtedly one of the most original animated films of the year -if not of the decade- and it indubitably one of the most comical and cute films, it is hamstringed by the fact that so many of the great scenes had been in the previews. There is a fine line between using advertising to whet the public’s appetite for a film and dousing the film’s charisma with advertising ploys. Unfortunately, “Despicable Me” tends toward the latter.
That isn’t to say that the film is lighthearted and cute. Following in the contemporary trend of the lovable villain as protagonist, this new venture creates a fragile character named Gru. While Gru is an aspiring world-class villain, underneath his protruding nose, hunched back and endearing Eastern European accent he is still a child who has never achieved the approval of his curmudgeonly mother. Nevertheless, Gru has all the patent marks of villainy: massive vehicles which belch clouds of pollution that would send Greenpeace into orbit, a tall, looming and ominously shadowed house surrounded by a derelict and barren yard, a dog with more teeth than brains, instruments of medieval torture on the walls, furniture made out of endangered species, plenty of nuclear weapons to go around, and an army of devoted minions in his employment.
One of the most humorous aspects about “Despicable Me” is the absolute unreality of the events. It is simply not possible that Gru might be your next door neighbor. No one can inflict that much damage on a town, or launch so many nuclear warheads, and get away scot-free. Even the orphanage from which Gru adopts the girls is rather implausible, making one think of a 19th century, Oliver Twist-esque scenario. And once your mind acknowledges this, it makes it so much easier to sink into the world of the story and laugh repeatedly.