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Despicable Me 3 - Review

Despicable Me 3

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THREE films in and animated adventure Despicable Me continues to offer up a feel-good mix of zany action and heart-warming charm even though the law of diminishing returns is beginning to set in.

Co-directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda (the same duo behind the Minions spin-off), the film ticks all of the expected boxes but struggles to recapture either the ingenuity of the original or the charm of the sequel.

It’s debatable whether the target audience (kids) will care but parents may sense the writing on the wall and feel slightly less enthusiastic third time around.
The plot finds Gru (once more voiced by Steve Carell) and new wife (Kristen Wiig) unemployed after their latest attempt to capture criminal mastermind Balthazar Bratt (South Park’s Trey Parker) ends in humiliation.

As they contemplate life in the suburbs, however, Gru is invited by the twin brother, Dru, he never knew he had to visit the family mansion, whereupon he is tempted back into villainy by the sibling who feels he has missed out.

And without Gru to thwart him, Bratt sets in motion a plan to destroy Hollywood as payback for the humiliation he still feels at having his ’80s TV show cancelled while he was still a child star.

And let’s not forget the Minions, who up and turn their back on Gru following his sacking, only to find themselves in prison, or Gru’s adorable children, the youngest of whom is intent on proving unicorns are real.

Taken at face value, Despicable Me 3 offers undemanding fun for all the family, which zips along and delivers more than it’s fair share of laughs.

Indeed, the franchise is now such a well oiled machine that it knows just when to throw in a bit of Minion mayhem or sentimental family bonding to keep things from fading.

And yet as enjoyable as things remain, the film lacks the freshness or overall charm of its predecessors. Part of the problem perhaps lies with Bratt’s villain, who is played a little too OTT for some tastes, and who eventually becomes annoying and repetitive with a catchphrase that quickly starts to grate.

The sibling rivalry that quickly informs the Gru/Dru relationship also feels obvious and – again – is played so loud that it leaves little room for anything really emotionally challenging.

And the climax feels lazy, too, opting to copy – and not parody – some of the worst blockbuster excess before setting things up for a potential fourth movie. In this regard, Despicable Me now feels like it’s playing the game rather than writing its own rules.

That being said, there is still enough to keep you amused and entertained. An opening sequence is very lively and impressively choreographed, the Minions still grab the biggest laughs (including two standout singing moments) and the interplay between young Agnes (voiced by Nev Scharrel) and Gru will melt all but the hardest hearts.

Despicable Me 3 therefore achieves what it sets out to and still offers a good time if expectations are lowered accordingly.

Certificate: U
Running time: 96mins
UK Release Date: June 30, 2017

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