The ho-hum “Despicable Me 3” is trapped in its own world of “nots.” It’s not funny. It’s not touching. It’s not exciting. It’s not even remotely original. But at least it’s not unwatchable.
In this tired retread, Gru (Steve Carell) and his new wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are struggling with fighting evildoers and being parents to their trio of precocious adopted daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Nev Scharrel). A family secret is unearthed, revealing that Gru has a charming long-lost twin brother Dru (also voiced by Carell). As Gru struggles to keep his promise of no longer being a nefarious villain, his brother has other plans and recruits his twin for one last heist.
It’s not a terrible story, but nothing really happens. There’s so much that could’ve been done here, but the film and its characters deserve far more than what we’re given: a fanciful cartoon with greatly missed potential. There aren’t enough quality scenes with the minions either, and the filmmakers know that’s what most audiences want to see. There’s an ill advised bit where the little yellow men end up in jail, giving us an unfunny, pointless break in the film.
Come to think of it, there isn’t much that’s entertaining at all except for Trey Parker‘s character Balthazarr Bratt, a Bazooka gum loving, shoulder pad clad super villain trapped in the the 1980s. It’s a funny idea that eventually feels like nothing more than a method to elicit chuckles of familiarity from disinterested parents by showing him breakdancing to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” or blasting out the opening notes to Van Halen’s “Jump” on his weapon of choice: a handheld keyboard. Yes, this is the kind of story idea that sadly passes for creative originality these days.
As expected, the animation and voice talent are both wonderful and there’s a lot of visual noise to keep the easily distracted young ‘uns appeased. But the reality is that colorful animation can only carry a series so far, and this franchise is quickly running out of steam.