Despicable Me is a decent enough little animated film about one man's quest to be the world's top super villain, although eventually it becomes obvious he simply wants to be a famous astronaut. It's sort of a classic story about a redeemable villain, but in all honesty Gru doesn't seem very villainous. He's stolen the Times Square jumbotron, but thats so his minions (aliens? a genetically created servitor race? Gremlins?) would have a super size TV to watch football on. In fact Gru seems more like a mere antisocial outcast who treats those he likes with kindness, and those he doesn't know with rejection and loathing. It often seems like he and his minions are more like a cooperative team than Master and Slaves the way the old Sci Fi movies usually show Mad scientists and their minions. He even pays them. What kind of evil Mad Scientist pays his Minions and buys them gifts? When it seems as if his dreams of space travel are crushed the Minions even pool their own personal money to help him out. Honestly he seems more of a gruff, self centered butthead than an evil monster.
The movies world is an interesting place with Mad Scientist villains in the every day news, most of them financed by Lehman Brothers, now known as the Bank of Evil. And it's rife with oddball inventions (my favorite being the Pirhana Gun). So while it's not a masterpiece of animation due to little flaws, it's a lot more enjoyable than most of the crap playing this summer. Fans of the old Looney Tunes style cartoons will particularly enjoy the Minions whenever they get screen time.
You can't ask for much better than Stiller, Black and Downey Jr. in this offbeat and seriously funny comedy (note it finally kicked the Dark Knight out of the #1 spot). Tom Cruise's cameo as slimy movie exec Les Grossman is priceless.
Downey Jr. manages to steal the show in a tour-de-force role (acutally, 3 roles perhaps?) as bad-boy Aussie ultra-Method actor (Russel Crowe, anyone?), who goes ultra-character in his African American role, then outwits some bad guys by playing a Japanese samurai type for a too-brief yet funny scene. Stiller and Black are great as usual, as are the rest of the supporting cast.
Great opening "commercials" and "trailers" open the film, and tie directly in to the central characters. Funny parody of Hollywood with awesome actors and some great cameos. I can't wait to own this one so I can watch it again! (the gag reel should be good..)