As the lights were dimming before a preview screening of Despicable Me, the six-year-old who lives in my house leaned over and said, "I hope this is funnynot like Toy Story 3." Now don't misunderstand: He adored that movie. It's just that whenever the subject comes up, the first word he uses to describe the final adventures of Woody and Buzz is "sad." "Scary," too, when further pressed. But "funny"? Not once in a month's time. So, then, to the movie featuring fart guns, shrink rays, and squid shooters! Despicable Me is a silly antidote to Toy Story 3's thoughtful heavinessa cavalcade of kiddie giggles, titters, and belly laughs with as much heft as helium. It's rather joyful and heartfelt, tooa summertime, air-conditioned Grinch, this is the story of a wannabe evil genius (Gru, voiced by Steve Carell) who learns that buried beneath his heft and hefty Mommy issues is a heart large enough to find room for three orphaned girls. To that, add countless yellow, pill-shaped, one- or two-eyed "minions" who provide comic relief enough to fuel a sure-fire spin-off show on Nickelodeon. Despicable Me is also one of the rare instances in the recent history of 3-D's resurrection as The Savior of Cinema in which the technology accentuates the experience. Though, grown-ups, be warned: I had more fun watching the kid giggle through the screening than I did watching the movie itself. It's no Toy Story 3.
Director: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Writer: Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul
Producer: Chris Meledandri, John Cohen and Janet Healy
Cast: Jason Segel, Steve Carell, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Julie Andrews, Danny R. McBride, Kristen Wiig, Jack McBrayer and Jemaine Clement