Critics’ Verdict: ‘Despicable Me 3’ Is Missing Its Emotional Core

Here’s what critics have to say about ‘Despicable Me 3’. 

3 min read
A scene from <i>Despicable Me 3</i>. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/<a href="">@<b>DespicableMe</b></a>)

Film: Despicable Me 3

Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker

Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda

Excerpts from reviews of Despicable Me 3:

On the surface, the ‘Despicable Me’ cartoons appear to be sendups of the James Bond franchise, but beneath that slick, spoofy exterior, they’re really marshmallow-centered affirmations of good old-fashioned family values. ‘Despicable Me 3’ is unwieldy, but it mostly works, as co-directors Pierre Coffin (who also voices the Minions) and Kyle Balda never lose sight of the film’s emotional center, packing the rest with as much humor as they can manage. The jokes comes so fast and furious, the movie can hardly find room for Heitor Pereira’s funky score, and though Pharrell Williams has contributed five new songs to sell soundtracks (including the sweet ‘There’s Something Special’), the movie hardly needs them. While the movie ends with an enticing teaser for ‘Spy vs. Spy’-like action to come (for those who remember Mad magazine’s constantly feuding rivals), its biggest laughs come from the retro dance-fights between Gru and Evil Bratt — and for that, it’s hard to beat Madonna’s ‘Into the Groove’.
Peter Debruge (
The set-pieces continue to be inventive, the Minions are still endlessly watchable but have little to do, and while each of their sub-plots are enjoyable on their own, a wacky quality gets lost in the separation. The characters work better as a team than as a bunch of disparate elements. Four films down, counting the Minions film, also tempers the newness of the material. Much of original cast and crew of the Despicable Me franchise, including Carell, director Pierre Coffin, and writers Cinco Paulo and Ken Daurio, remains unchanged in the third instalment and works like a well-oiled machine. The little girls bring in the requisite dose of adorable charm, the Minions provide much-needed hijinks and the film is chockfull of colourful and hugely enjoyable sight gags. The key element missing from what is unlikely to be the final part in the multi-billion dollar franchise is an emotional core, that made the first film so successful.
Aakash Karkare (
It’s an if-it-ain’t-broke-then-don’t-fix-it approach that works just fine if you’re simply looking to take another ride on the rollercoaster, with Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig returning to voice a pair of lovey-dovey superspy parents out to rid the world of evil yet again. Indeed, the original film’s enticing premise, about a bad guy who can’t help turning good, has been somewhat forgotten, even if series creator Pierre Coffin (working here with Kyle Balda and co-director Eric Guillon) tries to insert a bit of pathos and family matters into the action. Otherwise, this rather clever, breakneck-paced cartoon gives fans exactly what they want: Like the new nemesis voiced by Trey Parker, it shoots multiple machine-gun bursts of bubblegum at the audience, asking them to chew and enjoy. Expect them to do so when the film hits theaters.
Jordan Mintzer (
There’s no way around it — the Despicable Me movies are rather fun, and no matter what reservations you have on the overload of Minions in pop culture, they’re hard to dislike as well. The third installment, ‘Despicable Me 3’ is precisely as fast paced, zany, ridiculous and often hilarious as the first two movies, if you’re in the mood for harmless entertainment you can’t go wrong with this one. If you’re looking for something ‘new’ in the franchise you’ll be disappointed because it’s more of the same. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing because the Despicable Me movies don’t need to reinvent the wheel — the story concept itself is fun enough to alter just a few elements each time and still deliver disposable entertainment.
Mihir Fadnavis (FirstPost)

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