Cluttered ‘Despicable Me 3’ shows signs of franchise fatigue

Despicable Me 3 (Illumination Entertainment)

Despicable Me 3
2 out of 5 Stars
: Eric Guillon, Kyle Balda
Writers: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG for action and rude humor

Synopsis: After failing to capture child-actor-turned-super-villain Balthazar Bratt, Gru and Lucy are fired from the Anti-Villain League. With his world crashing down around him, Gru is informed that he has a twin brother who would like to finally meet him.

Review: Frankly, there’s just too much going on in “Despicable Me 3” and as a result the film feels choppy and undeveloped. Do we focus on the relationship between Gru and Dru or Lucy’s attempts to win over Margo, Edith and Agnes or follow the Minions as they go AWOL or is the film really about Balthazar Bratt or the new director of the Anti-Villains League? It would seem that the writers of “Despicable Me 3” couldn’t decide, so they scatter all of these elements into 90-minute movie.

Whereas the first two Despicable Me films felt inventive, this film feels bankrupt of originality. Even the ‘80s nostalgia feels forced and ineffective. I’m glad that some great music acts from that era are getting paychecks for the use of their songs, but if this is the writer’s attempt at connecting with older audiences then they really should have tried a little harder. I say this knowing that the Balthazar Bratt storyline is probably the strongest aspect of the film.

Where the first two films were built around characters and the relationships that brought them together, “Despicable Me 3” feels like a random selection of unfinished short films that have been haphazardly taped together in an attempt to form a cohesive narrative. Had the film been just about Balthazar Bratt, Lucy’s relationship with the girls and the Minions it might have been more effective.

Kids will still enjoy the film as it is filled with an ample amount of silliness and juvenile humor. Many parents will have a difficult time sitting through the film once, I can’t imagine that many would want to experience the film more often than that.

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