Despicable Me, ParaNorman, X-Men: First Class: films on TV today

Gru's army of Minions, a witch's curse and Professor X with hair: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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ANDREW COLLINS:  FILM OF THE DAY 

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Despicable Me ★★★★
4.55-6.35pm ITV 

Having clocked up a staggering $2.6 billion across three movies thus far, the elastically animated, endlessly merchandisable Despicable Me franchise is the surprise runaway success story of current times. (It even has its own Universal Studios theme park ride.) Last year’s prequel Minions, which empowers the saga’s dungareed yellow drones with their first feature-length spin-off (after ten shorts) is the most profitable of all — maybe by dint of the international marketability of their gobbledygook language. Amid all this money-making, the 2010 original feels rather homely: the simple tale of insecure, Uncle Fester-like supervillain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) who steals a shrink ray from a rival (Jason Segel) in order to kidnap the moon and ends up adopting three human orphans. Through them, he learns to be a parent. It ought to be an awkward mash-up of colourful slapstick and forced homily, but it works, and it’s actually rather moving. The Minions bring inventive mayhem, too. Despicable Me 3 arrives next year. 


The Watch ★★★
10.35pm-12.40am C4 

A neighbourhood watch team made up of Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn and Richard Ayoade isn’t likely to make anyone sleep easier, especially when the baddies on the block are from outer space.    


Up There ★★★
11.00pm-12.15am BBC2 

A heavenly comedy starring the brilliant Burn Gorman as a man who welcomes the recently deceased to the afterlife. 


ParaNorman ★★★★
4.30-6.20pm E4 

A superb stop-motion animation in which a young boy with the ability to see dead people attempts to save the town from an ancient curse. Very witty and delightfully dark. 


X-Men: First Class ★★★★
9.00-11.35pm Film4 

This superhero prequel starring Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon attempts to define the origins of the X-Men and their mutant factions.    


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