The strong bond between fathers and daughters is stressed, as is the importance of open communication between parents and children, as well as romantic partners. Gru's love story shows that even people who consider themselves unlovable can find love. That said, some have criticized the way that Gru's potential dates are depicted (either unattractive or plastic surgery-enhanced) and how the movie makes it seem that Gru and the girls need a wife/mother to complete their family. But Gru was actually perfectly happy raising the girls with just his minions as helpers and wasn't "looking" for a wife. And Lucy is a remarkable woman who fits in with the family because she and Gru respect each other, not "just" because she's a woman.
Positive Role Models & Representations
Mild insults like "nutjob," "sheep's butt," and "Gruties" (a mix of "Gru" and "cooties").
No product placement in the movie, but Despicable Me (especially the minions) has plenty of merchandise tie-ins and even a big ride at Universal Studios Orlando.