Despicable Me is a surprisingly violent animated movie that suffers from being released within a few weeks of the film Toy Story 3. Where Toy Story 3 has warm characters who seek to do well by each other, Despicable Me is populated by characters who constantly hurt each other as the filmmakers clearly sought a cheap laugh and tried to string together a series of hit-or-miss sight gags.
The story has Gru (voice of Steve Carell trying to sound Russian) as an evil mastermind, ensconced in suburbia with his black Victorian house and huge metal jet car. Beneath his house is a vast subterranean lair where he's plotting to (insert evil laugh) commit the perfect crime. He's created little yellow creatures known as minions, and while there are amusing scenes where hundreds of them congregate to hear his evil plans, they generally treat each other in a slapstick violent manner that really got on my nerves and was far too aggressive for a children's film.
The Great Pyramid of Giza has been stolen by the up-and-coming evil genius Vector (voice of Jason Segel), as shown in an amusing opening sequence. Gru is determined to regain the title of most evil criminal and comes up with a plan to steal the moon. To fund his efforts, he goes to the Bank of Evil seeking a loan, just to bump into Vector and the Spy-vs-Spy competition is on. Gru's plan to bring down Vector? Adopt three little girls Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) and use them to break into his lair.
There are a lot of fun sight gags in the film and the story, while predictable, isn't that terrible. What really upset me was the non-stop level of violence that the characters exhibited towards each other. I realize that's part of the story, the "comic book slapstick violence", but I was startled how each time a character would punch, kick, push, shoot or otherwise hurt another that the audience would laugh. That's not my idea of a good kids film, but if you disagree, you might well find Despicable Me a good diversion.