Movie Reviews

Despicable Me 3

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By: Arlene Allen

 

Gru is back – and in greater numbers!

 

It’s no spoiler to say Gru (Steve Carell) meets his long lost brother that he didn’t know he had. Mom (Julie Andrews) lied (imagine that) to Gru about his father being dead – he was alive and well and living with his twin, Dru (also voiced by Steve Carell).

 

Dru comes along at just the right moment – Gru and Lucy (Kristin Wiig) have just lost their jobs with the Anti-Villain League for failing to bring down the evil Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) and the Minions (all but two) have quit because being good is just too boring. The children are scared – so much so that Agnes (Nev Scharrel) starts selling off her toys, including her precious unicorn.  So, when Dru’s lawyer shows up the family is more than willing to jet off to Dru’s private manor.

 

Dru is an interesting character. He is opposite from his brother in many ways, having a full head of blonde hair, wearing white and is apparently successful in his pig farming business (there are lots of scene stealing pigs).  But there are similarities between the brothers – both were disappointments to the parent that raised them.  It turns out the boys’ father was a criminal mastermind. But Dru was good and couldn’t get the hang of villainy. Therefore, a good chunk of the movie is about Dru trying to woo Gru back into a life of villainy.

 

Meanwhile, Lucy is struggling to win the girls’ affection.  She so badly wants to be a mom to the trio, but is not sure how to go about it.  Agnes, Edith (Dana Geier) and Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) – especially Margo – aren’t sure about Lucy, either.  She’s a kick butt, no nonsense heroine yet as a mom she has lots to learn.

 

Also, the Minions are having their own adventures.  Led by the curmudgeonly Mel, the little yellow guys find themselves on the lam from the police. In one show stopping sequence the group wanders onto the stage of a singing contest and deliver an amazingly performed, choreographed opera (well, opera Minion style) that wins over the judges, the crowd and the movie’s audience.  One thing about the Minions – people either love them or hate them.  Personally, I adore them and laughed until I almost cried during this sequence.

 

Then there’s the villain – Balthazar Bratt. Brat is the former star of a kids’ television show in the 80’s called “Evil Bratt” that was cancelled when Bratt became a pimply teenager. He has never forgiven Hollywood for taking away his glory.  Bratt is permanently stuck in petulant child mode as well as in the 80s, with his mullet and his shoulder pads.  He is a very bad boy, stealing a large diamond to enact his plans for revenge on the city that rejected him.

 

Bratt is truly scary and villainous. In fact,he frightened me, an adult.  I can only imagine the effect he’ll have on kids!  I think Bratt is the most horrible villain Gru has come across. It’s going to take a team effort to bring this guy down.  Dru has his challenge cut out for him in his first adventure as a good guy (although he secretly wants to be as bad as Gru once was).

 

Dru is cute and he and Gru have some great bonding moments, although there is a constant conflict between the two.  Gru struggles to convince Dru that fighting crime is better than committing it. Plus, both brothers are tempted by the arsenal of cool weaponry and gadgets and gizmos that Dad left behind.

 

If you think this review wanders, it’s because the movie wanders.  We have the Dru and Gru plot, the Minions plot, a plot where Agnes goes unicorn hunting, the Lucy/motherhood plot and another plot involving Margo, a local boy and cheese. The movie at times seems disjointed as there’s just so much going on.  Of course, everything comes together in the end, but it certainly takes a circuitous route to get there. I did find myself squirming in my seat a bit.

 

The movie is, of course, adorable and charming, but it seemed to this reviewer something was missing.  I felt a good deal of its heart was missing, that it wasn’t as engaging or as endearing as the first two films.  Sure, it has its moments.  Maybe it was because there are so many plot threads, but it just didn’t hit me in the feels the way the first two did. Parents might notice this, but I don’t think kids will.  I think kids will be delighted and there are enough laugh out loud moments that the adults can play along. It’s a fun summer film despite its flaws.

 

Final Analysis: Flawed but fun. 7/10 B+

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