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despicable-me-poster Movie:Despicable Me’ 
In Theaters: July 9, 2010
Director: Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
Runtime: 95 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG for rude humor and mild action
Gecko Rating: 4 and Half Geckos 

After seeing ‘Despicable Me,’ I immediately came home and ordered my kids to go see it. Ok, I’m never successful with that sort of thing – they’re teenagers and they’ve seen so many movies that I practically have to beg them to go with me anymore. But ‘Despicable Me’ is just that cute. Everyone should see it. It’s one of those movies that appeals to all ages and genders, and it made me smile goofily from beginning to end.

The story begins with a mean villain named Gru (voiced by Steve Carell, though you’d never know it, because of his heavy Russian-type accent) who’s planning his next big heist. He’s going to steal the moon, and he’s been working on the device to do it for years. The nice thing is that we learn Gru isn’t villainous for the sake of being villainous. He’s that way because of things that happened to him earlier in life (not that it makes it ok).

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Gru has help from a scientist named Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) and an army of minions – adorable little yellow creatures who push and shove each other, and also have child-like qualities. They all work in the basement of Gru’s black home in the midst of a suburban neighborhood of cheerful homes with picket fences.

When Gru fails to secure funding from the Bank of Evil to pull off his latest heist – steal the moon – another villain named Vector (Jason Segel) swoops in to do the deed and reap the glory. As luck would have it, Gru finds his answer in three little orphaned girls – Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) – who unknowingly help him in his villainous quest. But the more time Gru spends with the girls, the more his icy heart starts to melt.

I’m a little iffy on the grim situation at the orphanage and the nasty way the orphans are treated. The director makes them sell cookies door to door for her own gain, and the adoption process with Gru goes through without a hitch. Thankfully, the girls are very resourceful.

Other than the stereotypical orphanage story, ‘Despicable Me’ is a winner on many levels. It’s really cute, the story is engaging and never boring, the characters have some depth and you really care about what happens to them, and the minions and orphans are adorable.

Girls will love the cute characters. Boys will love the villains and sci-fi action, and parents will love the subtle messages that shine through. The movie is available in 3D, although I saw the 2D version. Yeah, I’m sort of sick of 3D movies at the moment!

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NOTES FOR PARENTS:

Sex/Nudity: None.

Violence/Gore. Lots of explosions and high-tech weapons like ray guns and battle-ready vehicles, but it’s all very cartoonish and not very threatening. The one exception is a scene where it appears that a small child has been crushed in a container with spikes on the inside of it, and her blood is seeping out the bottom! We quickly learn that’s not the case, though. Gru’s minions punch and shove each other (but laugh a lot). No one is killed, although a few characters get launched into space. A Bank of Evil funds villainous crimes.

Profanity: Insults like “loser,” “stupid,” “suckers,” and “butt.”

TRAILER:

Images: Universal Pictures

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