The following is a quote from A. O. Scott’s review of Despicable Me:
Are you choked up yet? Are you laughing yet? You might be before the picture is over, but only because the alternative would be the kind of snarling fury that would make you feel bad about yourself. “Despicable Me,” its title notwithstanding, means no harm and tries so hard to be likable that you may hate yourself for hating it.
You know, I kind of agree with that. For the record, I didn’t hate Despicable Me. I just didn’t really like it all that much. It’s a by-the-numbers comedy, with very few jokes that really work. I chuckled here and there, primarily owing to Steve Carell’s delivery (he pretty much saves the film), but at some point, I started feeling a little annoyed about it as I got to thinking, “What happened? Everybody said this film was hilarious.”
Liliana had to take our daughter upstairs and get her to sleep maybe a third of the way in, and when she asked me later how the movie was, she said to me, “I didn’t hear you laughing.” This is worth mentioning, because I tend to laugh when I’m watching comedies. A lot, and loudly. Good comedies, anyway.
There was something about Despicable Me that…I don’t know…it bugged me. It was too trite, the humor a little too dumbed down, and honestly, I didn’t get the minions–I almost think they may have ruined the film. And like A.O. Scott said, I actually do feel a little bit bad for coming away with that impression, because it’s a good-intentioned, harmless film. But for what it’s worth, it didn’t do a whole lot for me.