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Despicable Me 3

Theatrical Review

Universal Pictures; 96 minutes

Director: Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda

Written by Chelsey Grasso on June 30, 2017 

Full disclosure: I have seen neither Despicable Me nor Despicable Me 2, but the franchise’s third installment kind of makes me want to. Now let me set the record straight: Despicable Me 3 is no crowning achievement in animation. You’re not going to be wondering how they pulled off the effects. You’re certainly not going to break down in tears once the credits roll. Simply put, it probably won’t restore your faith in studio animation. But it may make you laugh.


Unlike so many of its peers, Despicable Me 3 is filled with clever humor that goes — if only a smidgen — deeper than your typical face-value gags and physical body humor that’s so present in a majority of today’s animated films. Steve Carell is mostly to thank for this, starring in the film as both ex-villain turned villain-catching agent, Gru, and quite hilariously, his twin brother, Dru. Kristen Wiig also manages to conjure up a few laughs as Gru’s new wife attempting to learn the ways of motherhood via the duo’s brood of adopted (and adorable) three daughters. As for the minions, I could take them or leave them. They’ll make the kids laugh; they’ll make you roll your eyes.

The story opens with Gru (Carell) and Lucy (Wiig) chasing down Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), the bubblegum-throwing, stuck-in-the-80s super villain who’s been forever embittered by Hollywood for canceling the childhood sitcom he starred in. After Bratt escapes the scene, both Gru and Lucy are fired from the Anti-Villain League and attempt to begin a domestic life at home with their daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Nev Scharrel), but it’s not long before they embark on a new adventure meeting Gru’s long-lost twin brother, Dru (Carell).


Plenty of laughs ensue as the brotherly duo endure an awkward introduction and come to be best buds, including an identity swap scene at the dinner table that achieves a level of stupidity one can’t help but be amused by, also playing perfectly against Lucy and the daughters’ complete and utter lack of enjoyment. More hilarity can be found as Gru and Dru go on to take down Bratt and Lucy adapts to mothering the three girls, accidentally pairing Margo with a native boy of Dru’s island by forcing her to accept a slice of his cheese. Also worth mentioning is Agnes’s search for a unicorn and the one-horned goat she ends up with instead. Like I said, this stuff isn’t genius, but it is funny.

The film flails whenever it tries to be sentimental as there’s little space for it in the comedy of errors that’s happening. The storyline could’ve also been ironed out with more unpredictability, but how much can you really ask for out of an Illumination Entertainment production. After all, this is a film designed specifically for kids. The good news is, if you’re forced to take your little ones to see this in theaters, you might actually have a few laughs. The bad news is, well, it is no Spirited Away or even Kubo, for that matter — but then again, it’s not trying to be.

Despicable Me 3 is now in wide release.


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