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Despicable Me 3 Reviews

Illumination is no Disney or Pixar. The animation studio keeps churning out moneymakers, such as The Secret Life of Pets, Minions, Sing, and the Despicable Me flicks, but creating cash flow and creating good movies aren’t necessarily the same thing, as the overstuffed, underwhelming Despicable Me 3 proves. Kids and parents who are easily amused by minions chattering gibberish or passing gas may have a blast. Everyone else? Not so much.   Steve Carell reprises his role as the voice of Gru, the former supervillain turned agent for the Anti-Villain League. As the movie begins, Gru and his new bride and fellow spy Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are fired by Valerie Da Vinci (Jenny Slate), the AVL’s new no-nonsense chief, when they fail to capture Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), an ‘80s-obsessed former child TV star who steals the world’s largest diamond. The abrupt dismissal causes Gru to question his worth and purpose in the world. The bored minions, however, see this as a chance to persuade Gru to return to a life of crime. When he refuses, they go on strike and leave. Soon after, Gru learns his estranged father has died and that he has a wealthy twin brother named Dru (Carell, again) who lives in his father’s homeland of Freedonia. When the two brothers meet, Gru learns that Dru knew about him and has always been jealous of his twin’s criminal exploits. Now, he wants Gru to teach him the fine art of villainy. But will Gru agree?   The plot holds promise but it must compete with a plethora of other less interesting storylines that are shoehorned into the picture. First, those minions. After their hasty departure from Gru’s home, they are thrown into prison and go about plotting their escape, after being arrested for trespassing onto a movie studio lot where they interrupted the taping of a singing competition called “Sing.” Really? Then there’s Agnes (Nev Scharrel), Gru’s adorable youngest daughter, who is convinced unicorns are real and goes searching for one. And then we have Lucy and her continual attempts to prove she’s a capable stepmom. And there’s Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Gru’s eldest daughter, who gets caught up in a misunderstanding in which a Freedonia family thinks she’s now betrothed to their son because she accepted a slice of cheese from him. It’s too much and not enough at the same time. Too many stories. Too few laughs. And let’s not get started on the film’s fixation with the 1980s. Kids won’t get the references and they’re not funny anyway.   Another problem is Dru. The filmmakers had a great chance to have Carell play against himself, but the brothers aren’t that much different. Dru is simply a better groomed and less confident version of Gru. It doesn’t work. The movie does pick up some interest when the twins decide to steal back the priceless diamond that Bratt swiped. But it all leads to a ridiculous and flat finale in which Bratt tries to destroy Hollywood with bubble gum bombs.   Shortly after arriving in Freedonia, Dru takes Gru for a spin in a souped-up flying car and their leisurely drive quickly goes awry, with Gru nearly getting killed. He screams: “I’m not enjoying this!”   You said it brother.