Let’s face it: Amidst the plethora of animated movies at our disposal, “Despicable Me” is, at best, cheap entertainment. A mean old man named Mr. Gru meets three orphans, and they melt his cold little heart. It leans far more heavily on the tried and true three-act Hollywood structure than do other films of its kind, and its humor is predominantly crafted for children. It also employs the all-too-common standard of excessively cute characters that manipulate and irritate with contrived tear-jerking.

“Despicable Me”

At Quality 16 and Rave
Universal

But while some of the movie’s redundant standards may be grating, they aren’t entirely lost on an adult audience. In spite of its lack of profundity and substance, Steve Carell’s (“Get Smart”) foray into animated film still succeeds in other ways — excepting his occasionally annoying Russian accent.

For starters, it’s almost guaranteed to make you feel like a kid again, and its gentle demeanor makes it an excellent date film. Most important, however, is its unique ideation — rarely does a film (especially a children’s film) invite us to sympathize with a villain so readily. And for the still-hesitant, rest assured that there are indeed some laugh-out-loud moments to be had, though alpha males repelled by slushiness may find themselves writhing in discomfort more often than not.

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