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Cinematters: Despicable Me

By on January 16, 2011

Sour Supervillain Succumbs to Sweet Sisters.

Mean old Mr. Moss may be the grumpiest neighbor ever. He complains about the noise. He complains about the toys in your yard. He complains about, well, everything! But he lives next door, and your kids need to learn how to live in harmony with a variety of personalities. So you launch a “kindness campaign.”

The next time your children get a little too loud, they apologize to Mr. Moss. They make an effort to put away their toys at the end of the day. And when Mr. Moss gets sick, your family takes him a pot of soup and a tray of cookies. After a while, the complaints are fewer and Mr. Moss becomes downright pleasant. Your children learn an important lesson: that love can turn frowns upside down!

Love is the secret weapon in Despicable Me, now available on DVD from Universal Pictures. Enjoy the movie at home with your family and then use our Talk Together questions to discuss it. Later, you can create “Smilecakes” with our Play Together activity.

In Despicable Me, the world’s No. 1 supervillain, Gru, is quite comfortable with his evil ways. He lives in an old, dark house with his army of Minions – yellow, oblong creatures who assist him in his dastardly deeds. When his plan to steal the Great Pyramid is intercepted by a young, power-hungry new villain named Vector, Gru comes up with a bigger plan: to steal the moon! But first he needs to steal the shrink ray in Vector’s compound to accomplish this feat.

While he seems unable to find a way into Vector’s super-secure compound, Gru is amazed to see three orphan girls walk right in. They are selling cookies and Vector places a large order. Gru decides to use the girls to get him inside Vector’s home. So he adopts the girls, who mistakenly believe he loves them, and begins making plans for the heist.

Gru’s plan succeeds, although the girls, Margo, Edith and Agnes, are unaware of their role in his mission. On the way home from Vector’s base, the girls beg Gru to take them to an amusement park. They convince him to ride the roller coaster with them. He has so much fun that he starts to actually care about the girls. But his assistant, Dr. Nefario, believes they are a distraction. He returns them to the orphanage and Gru and the girls are heartbroken.

Meanwhile, Vector figures out that the girls helped Gru steal the shrink ray from his home. So he kidnaps them and demands that Gru deliver the moon in exchange for them. Gru hands over the moon, which he shrunk with the shrink ray, but Vector takes off in a spaceship with the girls in tow. Gru chases them and rescues the girls. The four of them become a real family, thanks to the powerful “weapon” of love!

Talk Together Why do you think Gru was so mean? What does he remember about his mom from his childhood? How does her attitude toward him affect his personality?

Although Margo and Edith become suspicious of Gru, Agnes believes he really loves them. Why is she so trusting? What does she hope to get from Gru?

Play Together: Smilecakes

Whip up a batch of pancakes and serve them with sliced-fruit facial features. For instance, use berries for eyes, cantaloupe for a mouth, pineapple for a nose and whipped topping for hair. Create a frown on your pancake’s face. Before you take a bite, share one thing that makes you feel loved. Then, turn that “frowncake” into a “smilecake” by flipping the fruit frown upside down. It’s a tasty way to remember that love can turn growls into grins!

Stay warm indoors this winter with a family movie night! Check out our archives at and get some great ideas for fun with your favorite films.

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