Friday, June 30, 2017

Missing Minions Dampen 'Despicable Me 3'




This review originally appeared on SFist.com.

The Despicable Me movies have never reached the level of the best of Pixar, Disney, or even Dreamworks' animated work, but they at least had the benefit of a steady stream of comic relief in the form of those little, yellow, different minions, especially if you're a sucker for fart jokes. But in Despicable Me 3, those minions are relegated a bit to the sidelines, probably because they've got their own franchise to carry and they have to save the best fart jokes for those movies. Unfortunately, it turns out the movie is a bit of a snooze when those yellow guys aren't on screen.

Gru (Steve Carrell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig), who are once again working for the good guys at the Anti-Villain League, are fired when they fail to capture super villain Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), the former child star of a 1980's sitcom that was cancelled once he hit the awkward stage of puberty. The mega mulleted Bratt's revenge plan involves destroying Hollywood using his arsenal of 80's-inspired weapons, which include invasive bubblegum he shoots out of his jacket's shoulder pads, exploding Rubik's cubes, and a robot sidekick.

Gru, whose full name is Felonious Gru, discovers he has a twin brother named Dru, which, yes, means the brother's name is Dru Gru, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, But then again, long-lost twin sibling stories rarely do. Turns out their mother Marlena (Julie Andrews, who deserves more than the single scene she's given) split the twins up after birth as part of a custody agreement. Gru's father did not "die of disappointment" after his birth, as he was previously told, but went on to raise Dru to be a wealthy pig farmer on the island of Freedonia.

Dru is in many ways the polar opposite of Gru: rich, happy, and blonde. But Dru has spent his life wanting to be a super villain, and with Gru's arrival, he sees his chance to fulfill his dream.

Lucy and their three girls Margo, Edith, and Agnes, are also along for the trip to Freedonia, but would have been better off left at home for all they get to do. The storylines they're saddled with feel like nothing but afterthoughts.

"What can we do with these chicks?"

"How about we make the youngest one obsessed with unicorns, the oldest mistakenly betrothed to a nerdy Freedonian boy, and Lucy preoccupied with mom stuff."

"What about the middle girl?"

"Who?"

And, as mentioned, the minions are not along to help Gru and Dru for the majority of the movie. Instead, they spend most of their screen time in prison, Yellow Is the New Black style, in a series of scenes that are among the film's few funny moments. Those minions, along with a few of Balthazar Bratt's 1980's pop music-scored fight scenes (because little kids love the '80s?!) are the only things that keep Despicable Me 3 from being a total bore, but still can't save it from being anything other than Despicable Meh.

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