Despicable Me (2010) for Rent on DVD and Blu-ray, Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Despicable Me centers around a supervillain (voiced by Steve Carell) who adopts three girls for the sole purpose of infiltrating his nemesis’ house. Yes, you can expect mild insults like “stupid” and “poop” and a lot of action sequences involving high-tech weapons that blast things to smithereens, as well as some scenes that imply injury — although no one is ever killed or seriously injured. But the most potentially disturbing aspect of the movie is the way that adoption is depicted — at least at first. Families with adopted children may feel extra-sensitive about the way that orphans, orphanage directors, and the entire adoption process is handled. It’s all played for laughs, yes, but some of it feels a little grim. Still, the movie’s overall message is that even someone considered “evil” can have a change of heart, and that’s a good lesson, considering that most movies portray good and evil as absolutes. (Note: The movie is being shown in 3-D in some theaters, which could make certain portions more intense for young viewers.)
All of the violence is cartoonish and doesn’t feel realistic — though there are lots of jokes and gags about super weapons and crime, as well as one potentially upsetting scene in which a little girl is put in a “nail box” and a squished juice box briefly implies blood (but no one is hurt). The Minions “communicate” with each other through slapstick moves like punches and shoves. There’s a Bank of Evil that bankrolls villains’ high-concept crimes — like stealing the wonders of the world (or, in Gru’s case, the moon). Several explosions and gun violence that never quite kills anyone but does injure folks and sends a couple of characters into orbit.
Mild insults and minor swear words like “suckers,” “stupid,” “poop,” “shoot,” “butt,” and “loser.”
Although ultimately all ends well and Gru and the girls form a happy family and learn that even “bad guys” can have a change of heart, some themes/lines in the movie could be upsetting for families with adopted children. Gru initially adopts the kids (in a very easy manner) for selfish reasons, and then he actually returns them to the orphanage. And Miss Hattie says some intentionally hurtful things to the the girls (like “You’re never going to be adopted. You know that, don’t you?”) and portrays orphanage directors as cold-hearted and unfeeling. She puts the girls in a “Box of Shame” as punishment and forces kids to do manual labor. Some crude humor, as when a minion photocopies his rear end, and some butt-shaking dance moves.
No actual products within the film, but tons of off-line marketing/licensing tie-ins, from books and apps to a wide variety of toys, clothes, home decor, and much more.
Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol
Not an issue
Depends on your kid and your family
Not appropriate for kids of the age most likely to want to see it
Villainous Gru lives up to his reputation as a despicable, deplorable and downright unlikable guy when he hatches a plan to steal the moon from the sky. But he has a tough time staying on task after three orphan girls land in his care.,