Another solid animated redemption-of-a-super-villain film. Grew (voiced by Steve Carrell of The Office) is a languishing super-villain who’s list of evil accomplishments are limited to petty crime (like stealing the tiny miniature statue of Liberty from Los Vegas, instead of the full-size one in New York). But he’s got a plan to break back into the villain game. He’s going to steal the moon. All he needs is a shrink ray being developed in Asia. But the Bank of Evil won’t give him a loan; he’s just too much of a risk. If he can get the shrink ray, the Bank will give him his funds. Unfortunately, a newer, younger villain swipes the shrink ray with the intention of getting to the moon first.
This younger villain’s only weakness seems to be for cookies, and when Grew sees three orphan girls selling cookies door-to-door, he hatches a nefarious plan. He will adopt the girls in order to get them inside his rival’s fortress with boxes of robot cookies that will steal the shrink ray. Life, however, has a way of taking us in directions we never intended, and the three girls begin to warm his black villain heart.
The girls are adorable. Their characters are perfectly developed and behave like real children (the three-year-old loves unicorns and sings in her sleep, the six-year-old has that delightful macabre sense of humor that middle girls sometimes do, and the eleven-year-old tries to maintain control of her younger sisters). They will warm your heart as they do Grew. Grew himself is a complex character who has a desperate need for the approval of his mother. This ends up why he becomes a super villain in the first place, and all of the plot-lines merge into a nice resolution at the end.
The story suffers in the third act, which seemed pretty undeveloped and could have probably used another rewrite or two. Plot ends are tied up too quickly, or so it seems. The film lacks the subtly of Megamind, but is a solid animated film, one that is sure to be a delight. There is only one thing that bugged me, which is the psychological need these animated films apparently have for destroying their good endings for the chance to have their characters break dancing to pop music. Ever since Shrek they have done this, and we need someone to put a stop to it. It has officially ceased to be funny, and is now simply annoying.
Rating: *** out of *****