Tag Archives: jason Segel

Despicable Me (2010)

This is a movie that caught me completely off-guard; I didn’t see it in theaters because I didn’t expect much from it, but, after finally seeing it, it has now become one of those movies that I never tire of.

Despicable Me tells the story of Gru (Steve Carell), a middle-aged villain whose despicable crimes (such as stealing the miniature Statue of Liberty from Las Vegas) pale in comparison to the newest villain on the block, Vector (Jason Segel), who recently stole a pyramid from Egypt. Not to be outdone, Gru, along with the help of his fun-loving “Minions” and assistant, Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), devises a plot to pull off the “crime of the century”: stealing the moon itself. Along the way, he adopts a trio of orphan sisters in order to gain access to Vector’s heavily-fortified home, but he’s in for a surprise when he realizes that these children may be more important than simply being unknowing accomplices in his evil scheme…they may just change his life.

The voice acting in this film is superb on all accounts. Carell as Gru is hysterical, with his strange foreign accent providing lots of fun lines to imitate with friends, and Segel as the competing villain Vector brings plenty of laughs as well…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shouted his “oh yeah!” when around friends! Julie Andrews as Gru’s mother is an unexpected delight as Gru’s cruelly indifferent mother, and Russell Brand’s voice transformation from a higher tenor to a gruff elderly baritone as Dr. Nefario is unrecognizable. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment in the voice acting department, however, is in the talent from the three girls: the impossibly adorable Agnes (Elsie Fisher), the rebellious Edith (Dana Gaier), and the critical eldest child Margo (Miranda Cosgrove). In the presence of much more experienced actors, these three never miss a beat in matching their older colleagues step for step. The directors have guided them wonderfully.

One aspect of this movie that particularly surprised me was its heart; the growth of Gru as a character throughout the film is heartwarming and well-developed. At no point does it ever feel rushed or forced, with his transition feeling very natural and genuine. As likable as Gru is as a villain, his role as father to Agnes, Edith, and Margo makes him even more lovable, and the fact that his “evil” plot to steal the moon is just the result of a long-time dream to visit space brings an interesting twist to the characterization. The humor in the film is also well-done; with every re-watch, I never tire of the jokes, which seem to never stale or grow old. The Minions add quite a bit to this humor, with their tendency for slapstick comedy and inappropriate jokes appealing equally to kids and to adults, or at least to me as a young adult in his early twenties.

As I mentioned before, I was totally surprised by how much I loved this film. The script is smart and the dialogue is endlessly quotable, and it has become one of the few movies that I have no problems with watching again and again. It has a fantastic (and, unfortunately, unreleased) score by Heitor Pereira and Pharrell Williams, with Pharrell’s original songs being quite enjoyable as well, despite me not being too fond of all of the lyrics (they just seem strange at times). The likability of these characters and the humor brought by each of the vocal talents behind them make Despicable Me one of the best animated films of the past few years.

Chad

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

MPAA: PG – for rude humor and mild action


The Muppets (2011)

I am a big Muppets fan. Even in college, Muppet Treasure Island has been a movie that my roommate and I watch (and sing along to) on a regular basis. When I learned that a new Muppets movie was being made, I was more excited than a college student should be for a movie starring puppets, but that didn’t stop me from counting down the months as the release grew closer and closer. I had high expectations from The Muppets, and guess what? They were met and even exceeded.

I saw The Muppets on Thanksgiving Day with my family, Andrew, and his parents. From start to finish, Andrew and I couldn’t stop laughing. The humor that has been a part of the Muppets ever since their original inception by Jim Henson was just as present now as it was then, and the characters are still just as lovable as ever. Walter is a fantastic addition to the same familiar characters we grew up with, Jason Segel and Amy Adams were entertaining and fun, and Chris Cooper as the villain was fantastic; it’s like he was born to be villain to a talking frog. The songs ranged from touching to hysterical to nostalgic, and the fourth wall was broken spectacularly…nobody breaks the fourth wall as well as the Muppets do. 

Filled with pop culture references out the wazoo (the Indiana Jones franchise, Neil Patrick Harris’ knack for hosting things, and even previous Muppet movies are all referenced, among other things), a story that is both touching and hilarious, and songs that will get stuck in your head for quite a long time, The Muppets is a film worthy of being included in the Muppets canon. It was everything I wanted it to be and more…thank you, Jason Segel, for this movie.

Chad

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

MPAA: PG – for some mild rude humor