Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment, 2010. Rated PG
Synopsis: Gru is a super villain with an army of minions and the ultimate goal of pulling off the greatest heist the world has ever seen: he is going to steal the moon! But before he can steal the moon he needs to steal a shrink ray from up and coming villain, Vector, and he adopts three orphan girls to help him do it. Margo, Edith, and Agnes just want a family and a home, and until Gru adopts them, he has no notion of unconditional love or of his own capacity to care for someone other than himself.
This movie is surprisingly layered for a family movie and we have two things happening that become gradually more intertwined as the movie goes on: Gru’s plot to steal the moon and become the greatest super villain the world has ever seen and Margo, Edith, and Agnes’s desire to be adopted by a loving family. Gru as a character is more of a jerk than he is evil, but this is a kid’s movie and he can’t be completely diabolical. He doesn’t care if he has to step on a few toes in order to keep the upper hand, but he clearly has no idea how to handle children. Margo is easily the most rational of the three girls and forces Gru to really think about how he is going to wrangle the three girls. Edith and Agnes are more trusting of Gru and see his potential as a dad even though Gru himself doesn’t want to acknowledge it. The most comedic portions of the movie involve the minions and the evil (and senile) scientist Dr. Nefario. The minions are largely unintelligible, but they are so childlike and play off Gru, Margo, Edith, and Agnes perfectly and their laughs are instantly recognizable. It’s a heartwarming story with a little something for everyone – and I am looking forward to seeing what the sequel will bring.