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Vol. LXIV, No. 28
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

GET OUT OF MY WAY, MY PRETTIES: The impatient evil villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) uses one of his diabolical inventions to freeze the people in front of him in order to get his coffee faster.

Despicable Me: Adorable Orphans Charm Villain in Heartwarming Adventure

Kam Williams

Despite the fact that the main character of Despicable Me might seem a little bit like Shrek, don’t let that discourage you from seeing this delightful animated adventure. Although at first glance the film’s ugly antihero is reminiscent of the ogre Shrek, it doesn’t take long for you to realize that the hero in this film has his own persona.

Gru (Steve Carrell) is a hook-nosed hunchback with a vaguely Transylvanian accent who has single-handedly ruined the idyllic neighborhood where he resides. Everyone on the block has learned to give the gruesome misanthrope a wide berth because his house is painted black and surrounded by a dead lawn. Plus, whenever he ventures out in his road-hogging jet-propelled tank, he causes minor disturbances, such as when he used one of his inventions to freeze the people in line in front of him at the local coffee shop.

None of Gru’s intimidated neighbors have any idea that he’s really a megalomaniac poised to execute an elaborate heist from his basement laboratory with the help of his loyal army of minions. And why is he bent on world domination? He’s frustrated because he’s only the second most evil villain around, second only to the diabolical Vector (Jason Segel) who has just stolen the Great Pyramid at Giza and replaced it with an inflated replica. Gru hopes to eclipse his competition and become the supreme villain by using his latest invention, the shrink-ray gun, to make the moon disappear.

However, he meets his match when a trio of innocent orphans, selling cookies door-to-door, naively ring Gru’s doorbell. The three orphans, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), are so desperate to be adopted that they ignore the mean man’s gruff exterior. All they see is his potential to become a doting father. He grudgingly lets the girls move in, and their playful nature and wide-eyed requests to be read bedtime stories gradually melt his cold, cold heart.

However, en route to the happily-ever-after finale, the plot thickens when the children are kidnapped by the vicious Vector. Gru miraculously morphs from an evil villain to an altruistic benefactor.

Co-directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud effectively employ the latest 3-D technology so that you find yourself alternately ducking from or reaching out to touch hovering objects. Another big plus is the original soundtrack, by Pharrell Williams, whose mellow mix of hip-hop and retro R&B makes the experience even more enjoyable.

The most adorable orphans since Annie!

Excellent (4 stars). Rated PG for mild action and crude humor. Running time: 95 minutes. Studio: Universal Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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