Despicable Me 3
Despicable Me 3
Release Date: June 30th, 2017
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews, Jenny Slate, Pierre Coffin, and Chris Renaud
The first Despicable Me movie was not an instant hit with me. It took time to warm up to the film, with it's oddly ugly character designs combined with great voice work, and modern comedic sensibilities mixed in with the slapstick of a children's cartoon. It's a cute movie, and I can see why it was a big hit with families, what with jokes about fart guns and little adorable minions running around causing chaos. For older viewers, Steve Carell, Jason Segel, and Russell Brand offered up some great performances (alongside cameos by Will Arnett and Kristin Wiig). Despicable Me became one of those comfort movies for me, something that shows up on TV while you're trying to do work and you don't mind keeping on in the background.
And like the sun rising in the east, Universal moved forward on sequels and spinoffs (because $$$), and soon enough audiences were given Despicable Me 2, followed by a prequel, Minions. Despicable Me 2 had a few things going for it (Kristin Wiig's increased role being one of them) and tried to continue the family theme from the first film, but in the end it was merely a passable animated movie. Minions was a notable drop in quality, with an unfocused (or nonexistent?) plot, and a truly uninspired and disappointing performance from Sandra Bullock. But while a crappy kid's movie is not a crime, what it did to the social media should be. For what felt like months, social media was inundated with meme after meme of those smug little yellow bastards eschewing controversial and unsubstantiated claims concerning everything from religion, race, vaccinations, and all the other topics you don't bring up during holiday dinners.
All of this brings us to the third installment in the unnecessary series that is Despicable Me. Gru and his now-wife Lucy are still agents working for the Anti-Villain League, but have been repeatedly unsuccessful in capturing supervillain Balthazar Bratt, a former child star and frontrunner of the 80's show "Evil Bratt," who can't seem to let anything go. This repeated failure results in both of their expulsions from the League by the League's new boss, Valerie Da Vinci.
I want to take a moment to discuss this character, who appears for roughly two minutes, if even, and does nothing more than storm on screen, scream, and fire Gru and Lucy. What, exactly, is this? Who designed this character? What role did she fill that couldn't be done by other characters? She's a poorly created concoction of questionable stereotypes that, like Bratt himself, are completely dated. She'd be more at home on an episode of The Nanny, and her distasteful faux-NYC appearance helps set the tone for all future unpleasantness.
Almost immediately after getting fired, Gru discovers that he has a long-lost twin brother named Dru: turns out their parents divorced and each took one of the children. I just... I'm sorry, I can't. I just looked at some information on Wikipedia to ensure that his name was "Dru" and not something else that rhymes with "Gru," and I'm being told that Gru isn't the main character's first name. His full name, again, according to Wikipedia, is "Felonious Gru," meaning Gru is his last name. And his brother's full name, and again, I did not write this or extrapolate this or anything, is Dru Gru. So... what happened? Did the writer's forget their character's name? And they wanted his twin brother's name to rhyme, but it doesn't? Did marketing tell them it had to rhyme with Gru? Because no one checked the script?
Meanwhile, the minions are... I'm sorry, I really can't focus on this now. Did they seriously just give the brother a name to rhyme with the wrong one? Because "Gru" is the name that has been used for every movie? And how lazy is that storyline? "Long lost brother" is the kind of crap a TV show pulled to boost ratings, not something a major motion picture is supposed to center an entire film around.
Anyway, the minions. They have a subplot of leaving Gru because he lost his job and won't become a villain again, then getting arrested, going to jail, breaking out of jail, and then helping Gru and Dru (again, really???) in the final act. All in all, those scenes are there because market research shows you need minions for this movie to sell, but they're completely inconsequential to the plot in any way and whenever they're off screen, you breath a sigh of relief and quickly forget they exist.
In the end, blah blah blah you won't care. This movie makes another fatal flaw: it's boring. It is seriously the most unengaging, uninspired drivel I've seen since Assassin's Creed, and this is considering the talent involved. Carell brings it, but even Wiig sounds bored and uninspired during some of her readings. If there's one shining moment in this movie, it's Trey Parker as Balthazar Bratt, who fully embraces the ridiculous concept. If it were anyone else, I would find Bratt beyond annoying, but there's something in Parker's delivery that makes the character humorous and slightly unhinged.
If you're looking for a theater to cool off in this summer, don't waste your time or money on this. And if you need to take the kids somewhere, I'd ask them to wait for something better to come out. And if you don't have kids, go see Baby Driver or Wonder Woman or Spider-Man: Homecoming, or if it's playing near you now, The Big Sick. Otherwise, avoid what is probably the final nail in the Despicable Me coffin.
...wait, never mind, apparently there's a Minions 2 slated for 2020. Just in time for the next wave of racist minion memes.