Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Video review: "Despicable Me"

Sometimes you like where a movie starts out, but not where it ends up. Such is the case with "Despicable Me," an animated caper about a world populated by super-villains -- no heroes in sight.

Unfortunately, the film starts out snarky and clever, and slowly devolves into a retread of the Grinch story: Black-hearted baddie learns the value of love, and friendship, and little girls who adore unicorns. It's still a fun flick, more for tykes than teens.

Steve Carell voices the Russian-sounding Gru, who has a bulbous body, skinny toothpick arms and legs, and a nose that could be used as a weapon. He looks like a cross between Dr. Evil and Uncle Fester.

Gru dreams of being top dog of the criminal underworld, but so far his best caper is swiping the JumboTron from Times Square. Meanwhile, his nemesis Vector (Jason Segel) foil's Gru's plan to steal the moon by making off with the shrink ray he just stole himself. How rude!

Gru recruits three orphan girls as his unwitting accomplices, and soon finds his heart's no longer in the whole world domination thing. Now it's ballet recitals and quality time instead of building killer robots.

Maybe it's the boy in me, but I wished the movie had given the trio of girls the boot, and stuck with the wicked stuff.

Extra features, just like the movie, are geared more toward small children than general audiences.

The DVD version comes with a commentary track by directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, a featurette on the film's music, "The World of Despicable Me" and a game, Gru's Rocket Builder.

Upgrade to the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and there's several more games, a 16-minute feature on the voice cast, and Gru-Control: Funny pop-up features during the movie starring Gru's yellow minions.

Best of all: Three all-new shorts starring various characters from the film. My fave: Minion Orientation Day!

Movie: 2.5 stars out of four
Extras: 3.5 stars

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