This 3-D computer animated feature stars Gru, voiced by comedian Steve Carell (Get Smart), a super villain living in suburbia who finds himself caring for three young girls, Margo, Edith, and Agnes – the youngest child who takes a special liking to Gru. “I thought this would be more like Annie with bald guy,” jokes Edith. Filmmakers set up some conflicts but nothing too stressful. For example, Gru’s power struggle with the girls includes a hilarious sequence involving ballet practice.
Gru has his “evil” world domination plans supported by his right hand man Dr. Nefario, voiced by British comedian Russell Brand, and legions of tiny yellow Minions who provide immense comedy throughout the story, especially when they start interacting with the girls. Co-directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud also lend their voices as some of the appealing Minions along with Jemaine Clement (TV’s Flight of the Conchords). Jason Segel (TV’s How I Met Your Mother) voices the surprisingly unimpressive rival villain Vector, a cross between Austin Powers and Bill Gates though he produces some decent laughs…as does everyone else thanks to the funny screenplay full of sight gags, endless references and memorable dialogue.
Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music) voices Gru’s mom while comedians Will Arnett and Kristen Wiig also contribute their voices as the banker and Miss Hattie, the local orphanage manager. Even directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud get in on the fun as various Minion voices. 30 Rock TV star Jack McBrayer also provided additional voices including a carnival game manager in a memorable sequence where Gru begins defending the three girls. Danny McBride voices Gru’s neighbor Fred who is under utilized in the story.
Guided by Quincy Jones, Pharrell Williams, commonly known as Pharrell, composes some catchy songs and the memorable music score with Heitor Pereira (It’s Complicated). This amusing film has limited villains and does not even mention any heroes yet, so expect some considerable expansion in future sequels. This 95 minute laugh fest is highly recommended and rated PG for some rude humor and mild action.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler