Despicable Me 3
Out Now On-Demand
Pierre Coffin, director of the two previous films and voice of the Minions, returns to co-direct the third installment starring Kristen Wiig, Steve Carell and South Park's Trey Parker.
Gru (Carell) faces off against Balthazar Bratt (Parker), a former child star who grows up to become obsessed with the character he played in the '80s, and gets into some sibling rivalry when he meets his long lost twin brother, Dru (also Carell).
Animated, Kids & Family
Rating: PG Violence
The Despicable Me films aren’t exactly Pixar classics, but they’re sweet-n-simple stories about a bad guy who learned to be good for the sake of his three adopted daughters. Sure, the films occasionally sold themselves out to parents by shoehorning in a dance number set to a song from their youth, but at least they got the basics right. Unfortunately, Despicable Me 3 exists only to sell out.
Instead of adding anything new to the series, the film either recycles stuff it’s done before or takes from something else. It’s bad enough the main villain references everything that was popular in the ‘80s like a superpowered Adam Sandler. It’s worse that the plot, where Gru discovers he has a long lost sibling named Dru, is ripped from episodes of TV shows in their dying seasons (like 24, Heroes, Monk, Charmed, and the episode of Supernatural literally called Jump the Shark).
It wouldn’t be so bad if they told this trope well, but the back-n-forth between the brothers adds hardly any conflict to the story. It doesn’t help that Dru is basically a Gru-shaped minion who is also voiced by Steve Carell but at a glass-breaking pitch.
I was begging the film to cut to the actual minions for some laughs, only to have them do yet another pointless dance number (because referencing The X Factor is easier than writing a proper gag). They’re barely in the film.
Meanwhile, Lucy’s desire to bond with her stepdaughters feels unneeded since the girls are already cool with her from the start.
People often criticise blockbuster action films like Transformers for doing nothing new, slumping on the storytelling, and leaning too hard on its name to get audiences in. This is what Despicable Me has become; it’s just aimed at the whole family.
In fairness, it has a couple of chuckles and a pretty cool action scene near the end. It might have stopped this getting one star if it wasn’t for two words: “Dance fight!”
Sydney Morning Herald
Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)
NZ Herald (Dominic Corry)
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Needs more minions
Despicable Me is a series with family at the heart of it. This one is no different as we get to meet another member of Gru's family Dru. The sub-plot with Balthazar Bratt adds an interesting touch for children of the 1980’s and Gru and Lucy’s downfall.
The key members of the family, the Minions, are not so prominent in this film (probably because they have just had a movie of their own). It means that there is a slight gap in the slapstick and fun nature of the previous films.
But it’s Anges’s hunt for the Uni-horn that stole the movie for me.