The Austin Chronicle

Despicable Me 3

Rated PG, 90 min. Directed by Eric Guillon, Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin. Voices by Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Pierre Coffin, Steve Coogan, Jenny Slate.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., June 30, 2017

Enough with the Minions, already. The further misadventures of former supervillain-turned-nice guy and anti-villian agent Gru (Carell) take a turn for the predictable when he discovers he was separated at birth from his twin brother Dru (also Carell). Alas and alack, Dru appears to be everything Gru isn’t: fabulously wealthy with his own island, a mansion that even Donald Trump might fancy, and – the unkindest cut of all – a full head of luxurious blond hair. Oh, the ignominy of the bald ex-baddie. Dru and wife Lucy (Wiig), along with their three admittedly adorable kiddies, visit Dru’s supercool villa, but trouble keeps raising it’s mulleted head in the form of former pre-teen TV star and now dance-happy global maniac Evil Bratt (Parker), who’s out to steal a 4,000 carat diamond and level the Los Angelean cityscape that turned its back on him when he hit puberty. (Hey, it happens.) There’s also a few random subplots tossed in for good measure, chief among them a visit to the Eastern European principality of Freedonia. Marx Brothers fans take note: Nothing here rivals that sublime surreality of Duck Soup.

The third time is definitely not the charm when it comes to Universal’s animated franchise. Where the first film took a nifty idea and ran with it and the sequel upped that ante by way of love and redemption, Despicable Me 3 is a yawn-fest crammed full of gags that simply don’t work. Even the target audience – little kids – appeared unimpressed, with nary an outburst of laughter to be heard. The animation is superb, particularly when it focuses on Gru/Dru’s James Bond-ian gizmos and other assorted marketing accessories coming to a toy store near you anytime now, but the script by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul is both too much (unicorns!) and far too little. A middling offering at best, it’s time to retire Agent Gru and let him get on with domesticity. Who knows what skeletons might turn up in his garden plot?

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