Despicable Me

Rated 3.0

If not quite inspired, this latest 3-D cartoon contrivance is clever and crafty, and seems to warm up as it gets going. An aging evil genius (voiced by Steve Carell) battles his younger rival (voiced by Jason Segel), enlists the unwitting assistance of three little orphan girls and then finds himself grappling with the usual career-vs.-family conundrum. His indifferent mother (voiced by Julie Andrews) is no help, but at least he has his minions, collectively an adorable (and, yes, merchandisable) horde of slapstick-happy green-yellow gumdrops. Writers Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, working from a story by executive producer Sergio Pablos, specialize in brisk and funny business, and it is mostly to the film’s advantage that directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin tend more toward the visual than the verbal. They’ve designed Despicable Me well, with an overall style that’s both aesthetically sensitive and inherently amusing. That said, it’s also nice to know what Carell can do without his actual face.