“Teach me the art of villainy!” says Dru (voice of Steve Carell), separated-at-birth twin brother of Gru (also voiced by Steve Carell). “No, no, no,” says Gru. “I left that life behind me.” But — will the pleasures of villainy return to Gru as he and brother Dru battle arch-villain Balthazar Bratt (voice of Trey Parker) for possession of the world’s biggest diamond? That’s the setup for “Despicable Me 3,” animated action comedy.
Do long-lost brothers Gru and Dru bond despite big differences between them? Does Balthazar Bratt get his revenge on Hollywood? Are the Minions as much fun and as cute as ever? For answers, see “DM3.”
Steve Carell voices twin brothers Gru and Dru. Kristen Wiig is earnest voice of Anti-Villainy League (AVL) agent Lucy who, with reformed Gru — also working for AVL — returns the stolen diamond to its home in a Paris museum. Brothers Gru and Dru are opposites: Gru, grouchy, an ex-villain; Dru, good-natured and smiley. “I hug everyone,” he says, “whether they like it or not.” Trey Parker (“South Park”) voices former Hollywood child-star, now arch-villain, Balthazar Bratt, determined to punish Hollywood for ending his movie career. “I love it when a nefarious plan comes together,” he says.
Others in the voice cast include Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Nev Scharrel as Gru’s lovable adopted daughters Margo, Edith and Agnes, for whom Gru has a sentimental soft spot. “Life is like that,” he tells disappointed Agnes. “Sometimes you want a unicorn and you get a goat.” Listen for Julie Andrews as Gru’s mother and Jenny Slate as no-nonsense AVL head Valerie Da Vinci.
“Despicable Me 3,” co-directed by Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin and Eric Guillon, from Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul’s script, is a mixed bag. Art direction and animation are first rate; characters, appealing — even grumpy old Gru loves his daughters. Only Trey Parker as villainous Bratt was more annoying than amusing. Plenty of colorful action will amuse young viewers, but an unfunny plot seems pitched to adults. “DM3” (like recent “Cars 3”) tracks its main character’s mid-life identity crisis. When Gru loses his AVL job, he vows not to return to villainy, despite nagging brother and disappointed Minions. “Our life of crime is over,” Gru says. “And I don’t want to hear another word about it!” These are not issues kids will identify with.
Happily (for both adults and kids), the Minions (voiced by co-director Pierre Coffin) look good, are lots of fun and, perhaps, even save “DM3.” They did for me. Gru’s girls are fun, too. Rated PG for action and rude humor (fart jokes), “DM3” runs 90 minutes.
Number Three —
Pleasure to see,
But (sometimes) laugh-free.