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"Despicable Me": take the kids. "The Kids Are All Right": take yourself

I took him home.  He's doing dishes right now.
I took him home. He's doing dishes right now.
D. Neil

Let’s all hope that Steve Jobs, instead of creating new and better iPads, starts to focus on creating minions that we can all stand in line for and buy the first day they’re available for purchase. These dome-shaped, yellow, one and two-eyed creatures from “Despicable Me”, opening today, steal every scene they’re in. While the minions are not the sole reason to see this movie (they’re one of many), you’ll probably leave the theatre wishing you had one at home to fold your laundry and put it away.

Steve Carell is Gru and he really does want to be despicable. He’s a super-villain who’s seen better days. When an up-and-comer becomes his arch rival after stealing one of the pyramids in Egypt, Gru must prove his mettle by doing something more dastardly and decides to steal the moon. He’s assisted by old Dr.Nefario (Russell Brand) and of course, the minions, but it isn’t until he adopts three adorable orphan sisters that he puts his plan fully in place.

“Despicable Me” is tamer than you’d expect from some of the trailers and that’s a good thing. The film gets a PG rating for “rude humor and mild action”. I recall a fart joke, but what child (or adult like me) doesn’t love a good fart joke? The action is in the spirit of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. In other words, relax. Kids are smart enough to accept the movie as just that: a movie, and an animated one to boot.

Take the kids. “Despicable Me” is charming, adorable, original and full of minions. What’s not to love? “It’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die!"

After you’ve secured a babysitter, take yourself and a mate to see “The Kids Are All Right”, starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. Not to be confused with the rockumentary about the Who, this film centers around a nuclear family that just happens to have lesbians for parents.

In addition to pitch perfect casting (has Bening ever been bad?) and spot on natural dialogue, the plot is so down-to-earth, you’ll believe everything that organically unfolds. It’s life. It’s family. Sure, there is some heightened drama. It’s a movie. But how situations are resolved, how characters interact, even the location and sets will make you believe again that movies do exist to speak to us and not down to us or at us, to entertain without being assaulted, to tell a story because it’s a good story. If you’re married, you’ll relate to the honest complications Moore’s character explains in a monologue near the end.

My only complaint about “The Kids Are All Right”? Mark Ruffalo is so appealing, it’s hard to accept the way writer/director Lisa Cholodenko decides to resolve his character’s presence in the family’s life. Other than that, you’ll thank Cholodenko for making a film about lives we can relate to, a movie for the grown-ups we occasionally pretend to be, even those of us who think good potty humor is essential and minions can save the world.

Don’t forget to spend more time with me at I’m there every day.


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