Minion Maestro Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me 2) is back to direct “Despicable Me 3,” the third installment of the animated film series. While not a complete surprise, this latest chapter manages to satisfy through its whimsy and spirit.
Gru (Steve Carell) is an agent for the Anti-Villain League, occupied with taking down the supervillain and former child-star Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) who has an penchant for a gigantic pink diamond. Gru does not have the necessary weapons to defeat Bratt, so Gru is fired. The round-bodied mastermind is devastated. To make matters worse, the Minions have no one to follow and end up in prison.
One day, a butler comes to the Gru family house to explain that Gru has a long lost twin brother Dru, who must meet him. So Gru takes a plane to see the billionaire.
Humorous asides and jokes abound here, albeit aimed for a younger crowd, and the creativity is as zany as you would expect from the previous films. Happily, not an ounce of energy has been depleted from the Igor-like Gru or his stubby yellow helpers after three outings.
Those iconic Minions are all here, invariably busy and speaking their distinctive surrealist language: a rapid mixture of Italian, French and Spanish, peppered with current slang.
A highlight of the film is the ultra-silly arch-enemy of Gru, Balthazar Bratt who is obsessed with the 1980s and Michael Jackson. Although very malevolent, he has copied the King of Pop’s dance moves to perfection and his moonwalk mania will have you in stitches.
Julie Andrews reprises her role as Gru’s mother and Jenny Slate appears as head of the anti-villain agency.
Also notable is Agnes (Nev Scharrel) who loves and believes in unicorns so much that her spiel on them is both manic and sweetly authentic, very much like an actual young girl.
This story works once more because it is performed completely without any sense of labor or cynicism. Gru carries himself like a self deprecating Bela Lugosi, while Lucy the stepmom (Kristen Wiig) is well meaning and quirky. The Grus are a kind of Addams Family, happy and pleased in their eccentricity.
Though Felonious Gru is not so felonious here, “Despicable Me” retains its charm through its unassuming manner and madcap energy. This is family fun laced with the glib flavor of “Saturday Night Live” and true to that spirit, these iconic characters can still be counted on to deliver many pint-sized titters and gruesome guffaws.
Write Ian at email@example.com