Despicable Me 3 is like a bag of mixed candies. Everything is colorful, overly sweet, with some pieces you hate, and others you can’t get enough of. The continuing adventures of Gru (Steve Carrell) and crew is meant for younger children. There are no clever double entendres or subtle themes for adults. Where the arrow hits the adult bullseye is the infectious soundtrack. The film has a throwback eighties plot that’s filled with classic music. You can’t help but smile and tap your feet to the infectious beats. It’s a gimmick that will solidly hook the audience.
The film begins with a pretty humorous heist. Eighties child actor turned disgruntled supervillain, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), with his mullet mohawk and purple jumpsuit no less, tries to steal the world’s largest diamond. Gru and Lucy’s (Kristen Wiig) attempt to thwart him results in their firing from the Anti-Villain League. Just as he’s hit rock bottom, Gru is astounded to learn that has a twin brother, Dru (also voiced by Steve Carell). Separated at birth by their bickering parents, Dru invites his long lost family to visit. None of this matters to the Minions who’ve finally gotten sick of Gru’s lack of villainy. The reunion takes a dangerous turn when Balthazar Bratt strikes again.
Despicable Me 3 wants to tickle your funny bones and pull your heartstrings. It has three sappy subplots involving unicorns, yes…unicorns, Lucy coming into her own as a mother, and the Minions in prison. It’s all a jumbled mess that makes no sense, but then it isn’t supposed to. This film isn’t concerned with neatly wrapping up plot threads. It’s a feel good enterprise meant to entertain children. This sums up the gurgling, cutesy appeal of the yellow hued Minions. They are likeable, but only to a point for the over ten crowd. I honestly got sick of the Minions within fifteen minutes of screen time. Their goofy banter ties in with another Illumination film in a slick example of cross promotion.
The Balthazar Bratt character is by far the best part of the movie. From the opening montage of his epic downfall from child stardom, to his wacky dance battles, Bratt steals the show completely. Every time Bratt hits the screen, cue the eighties music, and the laughs ensue. The Gru/Dru twin brother storyline was totally uninteresting to me. It’s basically watching Steve Carell talk to himself for ninety minutes.
From Universal Pictures and Illumination, Despicable Me 3 is as critic proof a film as possible. Droves of children will drag their parents to see this third installment of Gru and the Minions. The film is uneven, but does tick all the feel good boxes. Balthazar Bratt’s gumball attack while moonwalking to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” will put a smile on the sourest puss. The eighties gimmick is the gift that certainly keeps on giving here. There will undoubtedly be another sequel to this film. I sincerely hope they find something more interesting for the Minions to do.