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DESPICABLE ME

Nice to see a vocabulary-builder like “despicable” in the title of an animated flick aimed at kids, and there’s a sequence that involves reading a book. Beyond that, the 3D is no big deal, but this is a well-paced, fun, inventive, and surprisingly sappy-in-a-good-way picture about super-bad guy Gru, a despicable human being with an Edward Gorey-character appearance voiced amusingly in a Slavic accent by Steve Carell. Gru wants to steal something very big, and he rocks some killer steampunk-looking transportation and is flanked by other bad people, namely Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), Vector (scene-stealer Jason Segel), and a hoard of little Minions, who look like giant yellow Cheez Doodles and are the perfect way to get around having characters suffer all sorts of violent acts and Untimely Ends, cutely. Also mega-cute are the little orphan girls, and be advised: This is a movie about super-criminals with super-technology, so yes, there is a freeze gun, and a flame gun, and a fart gun. (Joe MacLeod)

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES

Flushed Away

co-director David Bowers helms this second adaptation of children’s author Jeff Kinney’s series.

Opens March 25

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