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Despicable Me (3D)


Stars: Voices: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Miranda Cosgrove

Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

At least this OK cartoon makes full use of its 3D format, which it exploits effectively at every opportunity. Its central character, Gru (Carell), is an evil genius which an army of little SpongeBob-like minions. Gru gets the loans for his nefarious projects from the Bank of Evil (formerly Lehman Brothers): a gem of wit which we wait in vain to be repeated.

Gru needs a shrink ray to fund his forthcoming expedition to steal the Moon, but the ray is nabbed by the much younger villain Vector (Segel). Gru sees a chance to penetrate Vector's fortress by adopting three orphan girls who go around selling cookies for the orphanage. He plans to wire the cookies to lift the ray.

This is where the film succumbs to its vein of sentiment, as Gru gradually comes to love the kids - although he still plans to steal the Moon, with Vector (who turns out to be the bank manager's son) in hot pursuit.

What comic action there is owes much to other sources: Gru's initial fruitless siege of Vector's castle could just as easily be Sylvester trying to catch Tweety Pie; but Gru's conversion to goodness knocks much of the stuffing out of the film, which will amuse and entertain younger children, but raise few laughs for their elders.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by efilm.
95 minutes. Not widescreen (3D). UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 09 Oct 2010