Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Despicable Me 3

1.5/4

Starring (voices): Steve Carrell, Kristen Wiig, Pierre Coffin, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Trey Parker

Rated PG for Action and Rude Humor

"Despicable Me 3" exists solely because the previous films made money.  There is no other reason for its existence.  True, most (if not all), films are made with the desire to make a profit, but with a movie like "Baby Driver" or "Spirited Away" there is a creative impulse.  Not here.  This movie was made so they could slap the words "Despicable Me" on the poster and rake in money.

The third adventure with Gru (Carrell) and his Minions (Coffin) has no plot.  Instead, it's a half dozen little subplots competing for attention, indicating how creatively bankrupt this movie actually is.  Gru (Carrell) is playing the nice guy with his new wife Lucy (Wiig) for the Anti-Villain League.  His new nemesis is Balthazar Bratt (Parker), who wants to steal a giant pinky diamond.  When Bratt escapes with the diamond again, the new head of the AVL, Valerie da Vinci (Jenny Slate) fires him.  Then, he finds out that he has a brother named Dru (Carrell), who is fabulously wealthy and wants to get in on the thieving game.  Meanwhile, the Minions are bored playing the good guy and, save for two, have abandoned their master.  They get arrested and quickly own the prison.  At the same time, Lucy is trying to get a handle on this "Mom" thing, Margo (Cosgrove) mistakenly gets engaged, and Agnes (Scharrel) becomes obsessed with finding a real live unicorn and drags a reluctant Edith (Gaier) along for the ride.

As busy as the film is, very little of it managed to hold my interest.  I realize that I'm about a quarter century above the film's target audience, but there's no reason the filmmakers couldn't have told a story that would engage adults and children.  They were just too lazy to do it.

Steve Carrell has said that this might be his last outing as Gru, barring cameo appearances in the inevitable "Minions" sequel.  Illumination Entertainment should take the hint and allow the character to retire.  Carrell is obviously bored with the role, and as a result Gru and Dru are often irritating.  Even the Minions have lost much of their humor.  The only thing truly inspired that the film has to offer is Bratt's backstory.  He's a child actor who became famous playing a bad guy on a TV show, but got fired when he hit puberty.  As a result, he lost his mind and fused with the character he portrayed.  This allows the filmmakers to get a few well-earned jabs at Hollywood and merchandising, but the whole thing is not nearly as clever or funny as it sounds.

This movie is making big money because it's a reliable brand name and there isn't anything to offer for the little ones.  They might like it, but I feel for every parent forced to accompany them to this sucker.  It's a colossal waste of time.

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