• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

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Despicable Me

TITLE: Despicable Me

YEAR: 2010

GENRE: Animation and Family

Film fans complain and for good reason that there has been a lack of quality horror films in the last few years, but one thing for sure is that we are currently living in what I am sure will be considered a golden age for animated films. Between the quality of the Pixar and Dreamworks products, the great directorial work of Henry Selick and Hayao Miyazaki, and some quality foreign work such as Britian’s Wallace and Gromit and hordes of Japanese anime the fans of animation have a lot of great products in which to watch and enjoy. As a result, this does not bode well for other animated projects that may indeed be pretty good but pale in comparison to the superior products of the day. This is the case with Despicable Me, an acceptable animated film that does not rise up to the superior levels of its competition.

Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is a mad scientist and all-around evil lord who has been working for years with his assistant Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) to miniaturize the moon. Gru does have some rivalry in the bad guy department from a young upstart named Vector (Jason Segal) who steals Gru’s shrink ray which is instrumental for Gru’s evil plans. Gru does discover through some clever spying that Vector does have a weakness: three orphans selling cookies in the neighborhood. Gru hatches a plan to adopt the three orphans who sold cookies to Vector so that he can reclaim his shrink ray for his nefarious plans, but there is yet another wrench in his plans: the three orphans see Gru as their new father and make an extra effort for his affections.

Most people probably were initially drawn to Despicable Me due to the extensive marketing of Gru’s minions, which are cute little yellow guys wearing overalls and goggles. The minions are more of a subplot to the overall story but are charming enough throughout the film especially when one’s back is cracked and used by Gru as a glow stick during an escape through Vector’s HVAC system. The rest of the story is mostly geared toward Gru’s grasping with his disappointing childhood and his lack of affections toward the parentless threesome (one voiced by Disney Channel’s “I-Carly” star Miranda Cosgrove and bubblegum pop flavor of the month). There are times when Gru’s internal conflict comes to the surface but not enough time is given to the development to this aspect of the story which is where Despicable Me misses the mark. There are more than enough cute aspects such as Gru destroying a sideshow game with a laser gun to win a stuffed unicorn and minions smacking each other on the head a la The Three Stooges, but Despicable Me never raises itself above the level of pre-puberty entertainment. There is nothing wrong with that kind of movie, but Despicable Me does not do enough to make it more memorable over a long period of time with more mature viewers.

Twenty years from now when the history of new millennium animation is written Despicable Me will be nothing more than a footnote while more maturely told stories such as How To Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 will be the more memorable entries from 2010. People looking for some babysitting entertainment for the younger sect will find Despicable Me to be worth the price of admission, but those with more than one digit in their age will not be as entertained with Despicable Me other than a few chuckles with the little yellow guys.

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