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‘Megamind’ pulls off cute comedy

Fri., Nov. 5, 2010

There are rules to this super-hero/super-villain game, and they’re laid out by the title character in the chatty new animated adventure comedy “Megamind”:

“Good receives all the praise and adulation. Evil is sent for quiet time in the corner.”

More to the point, he notes: “The bad don’t get the girl.”

Will Ferrell provides the mustache-twirling voice in this farce about an alien baby who grew up to be Metro Man, and the alien baby who grew up on Earth to be his nemesis: Megamind.

Brad Pitt voices Metro Man, the toothy hero who bathes in applause and thwarts the hapless Megamind at every turn.

Megamind is so clueless he can’t even pronounce the name of their hometown correctly. “Metrocity” sounds like “atrocity” coming out of his big blue mouth.

Plucky TV reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey) documents Metro Man’s heroics and always figures in Megamind’s evil plans.

“Could someone stamp my Frequent Kidnapping Card?” she says at one point.

But what would happen if this equilibrium were shattered, if Megamind were to finally win a fight and do Metro Man in?

That’s the central conceit of this 3-D Dreamworks toon. How would Megamind cope?

The answer is, not very well. Once you’ve looted the city, enslaved its inhabitants and covered every free space with your “No, You Can’t” posters (a play on the “Yes, You Can” Obama posters of 2008), what more is there?

Or as Megamind puts it, “What’s the point of being bad if there’s no good to stop you?”

There are a few similarities to last summer’s funnier and sweeter “Despicable Me,” and even more ideas teased out of “The Incredibles.”

Megamind’s plans include creating a new superhero (voiced by Jonah Hill) so that he’ll have a foil, somebody he can best in a battle of wits to impress Roxanne.

Like many an overly talkative cartoon, the energy flags here as the funnier lines thin out sometime after Megamind sneers, “I’m shaking in my custom made baby sealskin boots!”

Filler musical montages set to “Bad to the Bone,” “Dirty Deeds” and “Highway to Hell” don’t quite cover the dead spots.

But the message, about “learning from your mistakes,” is kid-appropriate. And the voice cast – including Pitt, who plays this sort of self-mocking Adonis well, even in animated form – makes this cute comedy come off.

Even if we, like Megamind, start to wonder “What’s the point?” after Metro Man’s exit.

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