Why are bad guys bad? Despicable Me is the rare kids’ film to be told from the villain’s point of view (an impending trend…watch for Megamind and Maleficent). These days, many family films give us a glimpse of a bully’s tattered home life to understand why his ego requires him to dominate over others, but Despicable Me actually puts us in the head of the villain.
We experience Gru’s painful childhood memories of his mother who constantly put down his dreams with a “you’re not good enough” attitude…and lo and behold, Gru becomes a loser villain who craves recognition from the world.
Determined not to let whatever success he’s achieved so far slip to a younger villain, Gru decides to outevil him by stealing the moon. Gru adopts three local orphans to unknowingly help him with one element of his plan but then finds himself stuck parenting the girls. Gru’s naïve thinking -- that controlling the three girls because, as their “father,” they would obey his commands -- is surprisingly relatable.
Didn’t we all think it would be easier than it is? Don’t we all think we should be able to just tell kids what to do or not to do and they’ll obey…but the next thing you know, the kid has made a good point and you’re getting them ANOTHER glass of water? Or playing with them when you really need to get some work done? Or reading them one more story when bed time was an hour ago?
The catch to Despicable Me, which is like a Grinch-y “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog” mixed with Monsters Inc., is that you find yourself rooting for the bad guy. You’re a little shocked as you feel tears sliding down your face when Gru starts to realize that the love and admiration of your children is more rewarding than admiration from your colleagues.
Despicable Me isn’t JUST for parents. Gru and his minions are a funny lot with plenty of humor directed squarely at kids. As you might imagine in a story about a battle between villains, the weaponry is never ending, but the story is so far from reality even the most anti-violence parent will likely be okay with its use (and, just like in “Looney Tunes,” no one gets hurt).
Despicable Me is truly a family film, uniquely telling a story about the importance of family in a way the whole family can enjoy.
To read what KIDS think about Despicable Me, go to www.KidsPickFlicks.com.