“Despicable Me 3,” like Gru’s long-lost brother, should have stayed long-lost.
Gru (Steve Carell) hits rock-bottom. He mistakenly let 80’s hipster Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) get away for the umpteenth time, the Anti Villain League has let him and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) go and all but two of his beloved minions threw in the towel because they can’t return to villainy. What’s the poor guy to do?
The next day, Gru discovers that he has a long-lost twin brother named Dru (also Carell). Gru packs up the family and travels to Fredonia. When they arrive, they see Dru living the good life with a big house, cool cars and long luxurious hair. Of course, Gru is jealous.
Dru shows Gru the family history and how they all come from a line of notorious villains. When Dru asks Gru to join him in villainy, Gru is torn.
“Despicable Me 3,” although great for children, lacks the same depth and magic of the first two films. First, Bratt was a terrible villain. He’s an 80’s junkie who dance-fights to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and bombs people with a Rubix Cube. He was funny at first, but his catchphrase, “I’ve been a bad boy,” got stale quickly. Plus he tries to destroy everything with a giant robot. News flash: Villains from Power Rangers already used that bit.
Vector and El Macho were better adversaries than Bratt by a landslide. Vector had squid launchers and rigged his house with all kinds of booby traps. El Macho persuaded Dr. Nefario to join his side and he stole most of Gru’s minions to turn them into purple monsters.
Next, the movie’s plot took me higher and higher, then dropped me when it hit the middle. The plot became predictable and the ending didn’t give closure. They shouldn’t add any more movies to the franchise unless it’s a spinoff like Minions.
There were some good parts to the third installment. Pharrell Williams returns as composer for the film. He includes the famous tracks, “Fun, Fun, Fun” and ‘Despicable Me” plus new songs.
I also admire that the Despicable Me trilogy nods at movie buffs. Certain scenes parody classic movies. In Despicable Me, Gru freaks out when he finds a doll’s head in his bed. That comes from The Godfather. In Despicable Me 2, Gru is attacked by El Macho’s chicken and it pops out of his shirt. That comes from Alien. In Despicable Me 3, Gru says Dr. Nefario accidentally froze himself in carbonite. That’s Han Solo in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi.
Despicable Me 3 is fun for the kids and can make adults chuckle. But as Gru says, sometimes you look for a unicorn and you get a goat. Despicable Me 3 is not a unicorn. It’s a smelly goat.
Studio: Universal Studios (1 hr. 30 min)
Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Pierre Coffin, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda, & Eric Guillon
Story: Gru contemplates returning to villainy after meeting his twin brother, Dru.
Final Score: D-