I’m confident that the minions would gleefully follow Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy and Chris Renaud anywhere this dazzlingly creative group would go!
In “Despicable Me 2,” Gru met his soul mate Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) and they married. A quick roundup of the current “Despicable Me 3.” Now the reformed super-villain Gru (Steve Carell) agrees to change his life to make a better way for his three newly adopted daughters. And Gru discovers his long-lost twin brother, Dru, giving the reforming villain one more reason for a massive group hug!
Once the two long-lost brothers unite, this action-packed comedy moves swiftly into a hilarious family film that stresses those old-fashioned family values but in an utterly original way.
Old Gru has unfairly lost his job with the Anti-Villain League and his twin brother Dru desperately wants to get into the villainy racket to keep alive, we discover, the family legacy.
Gru and Dru are like table tennis players bouncing the running gags with speed and precision.
The villain making trouble is the disgruntled former child star named Balthazar Bratt (voiced by “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker)—a humorous relic of the ’80s, when everyone knew and loved him from a show called “Evil Bratt.” Lost to his past, Balthazar wears huge shoulder pads and pump sneakers, tossing explosive bubble-gum bombs and break-dancing his way through complicated heists. He watches tapes of old episodes for ideas, corny but effective, and we get to hear his tagline—over and over again—“I’ve been a bad boy!”
Balthazar manages to steal the world’s largest diamond and Gru and Lucy set out to stop him and to earn back the respect of new boss Valerie Da Vinci (Jenny Slate). While Gru and Dru make up for lost time and test out a slew of new gadgets that would make any villain proud, Lucy attempts to bond with the three little girls, who each have subplots of their own, the funniest being Agnes’ obsession with finding a real live unicorn.
As silly and delightful as “Despicable Me 3” is, there are sentimental and warm-fuzzy family moments delivered with genuine sincerity. The true “Awwww” moments come when the youngest daughter Agnes tells adoptive mother Lucy, “I love you, Mom.”
The audience remains invested because the story keeps them glued. That’s the work of writers Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, who’ve been with the series since the beginning. This is complicated comedy, and for those of us who study structure, I suggest that you get a copy of the screenplay and pour yourself into learning their secrets.
“Despicable Me 3” is part of a franchise that has already earned more than $1.5 billion worldwide, and that’s not counting merchandising or the “Minions” movie’s additional billion. The uber intelligence of the team leaves this installment open-ended for an unending number of sequels. Jump up and down with glee. The minions will continue to bring the giggles for the next 50 years, I wager.
Along with the fast flowing jokes there is Heitor Pereira’s spirited score and five new songs by Pharrell Williams including the sweet, “There’s Something Special.”
“Despicable Me 3” is a Universal release and presentation of a Chris Meledandri production.