Critics agree that French studio Illumination Entertainment has made a strong first entry into feature animation with Despicable Me, featuring Steve Carrell voicing a cartoon baddy who adopts three little girls. But it has the misfortune to premiere within weeks of Pixar's beloved Toy Story 3.
- Despicable Me "cannot be faulted for lack of trying," AO Scott writes in the New York Times. "If anything, it tries much too hard, stuffing great gobs of second-rate action, secondhand humor and warmed-over sentiment into every nook and cranny of its relentlessly busy 3-D frames. It tries so hard to be likable that you may hate yourself for hating it."
- The movie is "thoroughly adorable," writes Bob Mondello for NPR, noting an odd visual overlay: Despicable Me "looks a lot like other computer-animated pictures, but with a retro afterglow. ... as if Jules Verne somehow got into the Pixar toolbox."
- "Despicable Me doesn't quite have the depth to operate on Pixar's level," writes Chris Vognar for the Dallas Morning News, "but, to be fair, nothing does. It does exude skill, heart and energy, a combination hard to beat in animation or live action."
- "Innovative gadgets are part of the fun," Claudia Puig writes for USA Today, "as are legions of bright yellow, gibberish-spouting 'minions.'"