ReelBob: ‘Despicable Me 3’ ★★ 1/2
By Bob Bloom
“Despicable Me 3” resembles a distracted child having fun, running from one toy to another, unable to concentrate or focus on a specific activity.
The third movie in this animated series about former super villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is like that child. It moves quickly — it’s only 90 minutes — and it easily will hold the children’s attention.
However, the film covers a lot of territory at a rapid pace — a jewel heist, career changes, family issues and sibling rivalry. Oh, and a search for a unicorn.
By taking that scattershot approach, “Despicable Me 3” simply jumps from subplot to subplot, giving short shrift to its various storylines.
Admittedly, the film is colorful and zany, with eye-catching animated antics that will please moviegoers — kids more than adults, even though some of the grown-ups in the screening audience howled at some of the 1980s references sprinkled throughout.
The film’s main thread is Gru trying to redeem himself after being fired by the new head of the Anti-Villain League for his failure to capture Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker), a former ’80s child TV star who went over the edge after his series, “Evil Bratt” was canceled.
Bratt turned to crime, and while Gru thwarted Bratt’s latest caper
— the theft of the world’s largest diamond — Gru was humiliated and let go from the agency.
The loyal Minions desert Gru after he steadfastly refuses to return to villainy.
So, he is alone with wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and their three young daughters.
Gru has an unexpected surprise when he receives an invitation to meet Dru (Carell again), the twin brother he never knew he had.
Dru, who wants to revive the family business of villainy — their father was a super criminal known as The Bald Terror — also tries to convince Gru to return to his former life.
Gru, though, has other ideas. He tricks Dru into helping him steal the diamond from Bratt.
Everything converges — yes, even the “unicorn” — by the fade-out. Along the way, sight gags, laughs and thrills abound until everything is wrapped in a neat finale.
“Despicable Me 3” is not as good as the first two franchise movies, but that is usually expected as sequels basically follow a reverse Darwinian curve — devolving instead of evolving.
But, it will provide the youngsters with entertainment, and adults with some relief from daily chores. As a baby-sitter, the film is first rate.
Bob Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and Rottentomatoes (www.rottentomatoes.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom.
DESPICABLE ME 3
2½ stars out of 4
(PG), action and rude humor