Illumination Does The Same Old Song and Dance With “Despicable Me 3”
By Scott Kurland
Film: Despicable Me 3
Starring: Steve Carrel, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Jenny Slate, and Steve Coogan
Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, and Eric Guillon
Over and over again, Illumination Films has proven that if you keep doing the same story over and over again, you’ll make more money then you know what to do with. Don’t get me wrong, “Sing” is cute, "Despicable Me" and its sequel are good, but all Illumination films are the same. A misjudged character is painted in a negative light, they learn or teach a valuable lesson and everyone goes home happy. That’s fine I guess. But even Don Bluth knew that, to make an omelet, you have to experiment on a few rats… I mean, break a few eggs. This week’s film is “Despicable Me 3” and I’m conflicted. It’s the same film, but it has the best villain. Let’s find out how conflicted I am shall we?
“Despicable Me 3” continues the adventures of Gru (Steve Carell) and his wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig). Both enjoy their well-established careers working for the Anti-Villain-League, that is until
Gru lets former 80’s-child-star-turned-villain Balthazar Bratts (Trey Parker) escape.
In addition to the struggle that is unemployment, Lucy is still acclimating to her new role as a mother and Gru finds out he has a long lost twin named Dru (also Carell). Dru gets Gru to step back into his old occupation of villainy again, but only to steal what Bratts stole first. What about the Minions you ask? Well, they quit and end up in prison. This is where things get super weird because I’m pretty sure they assault all the other prisoners.
This film is…fine. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before. You could describe all three films the same way. Gru lacks meaning in his life and ultimately finds it by expanding his family. In the first film, Gru adopts children, in the second he gains a wife, and now it’s a brother. I think this is commentary on the norm. In most instances, you’re a brother, then you’re a husband and, finally, a father. Gru does it reverse but the results are the same. Carell and Wiig are still funny as Gru and Lucy (or as Lucy calls them Grucy which he, like all of us hearing a celebrity name, admits loathing it).
There’s too much going on in this film. There’s five storylines when there should be three. There’s Gru and Dru, Gru and Bratts, Lucy being a mom, Agnes and Edith finding a Unicorn, and the minions end up in “OZ.” I’m not talking about “The Wizard of OZ” either. I’m talking about HBO’s “OZ.” As for the villain, Bratts at least is moderately interesting as the villain as he's trying to rule the world all because
his TV show was
cancelled . That is great motivation and it makes for a funny storyline, but the writers ignore it so they can focus on family. Listen, Trey Parker is the best thing in the movie. The least you can do is give him more to do. I would happily give up seeing those yellow gibberish- speaking-twinkies and the unicorn hunt for an extra twenty minutes of Bratts vs. Gru.
I also wasn’t too keen on the entire long-lost-twin-plot. That’s a crutch films have been leaning on for years. Yes, Gru is bald. Dru has hair. Gru a genius and Dru’s a moron. I’ve seen “Pinky & The Brain” before. It’s a tale as old as time. I understand that Gru needed a brother to give him the love his mother didn’t and vice versa; but it’s such a cliche.
“Despicable Me 3” isn’t a bad film, it’s just the same exact film we’ve seen before. Lets try some new next time because this isn’t working. Also this film had THREE DIRECTORS. THREE!!! That’s too many directors to make a film we’ve already seen twice before. I know kids will find it funny and parents will tolerate it, but this film is a rental at best. Save your time and money and re-watch the first two films. Unless you want to see Trey Parker then see the first ten minutes before sneaking out, go in thirty minutes later, and show up for the last fifteen minutes. If that sounds too complicated, so is trying to figure out why I’ve paid almost thirty bucks to see the same movie again and again over the last seven years.
REVIEW RATING: C-