Part three in a series? Okay, then it’s time to whip out either the A) What, I have a secret twin!? trope B) the time-travel / amnesia trope or the C) my life has no meaning, so I must go back to the beginning trope. Well, this part three has elements of A & C. And they say Hollywood can’t come up with anything new! Ha!
Fans of that lovable and dastardly criminal, Felonious Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), will remember his unstoppable crime spree, until he met three orphaned little girls that changed his life (part one), adopted them, and then met his future spy wife, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) in part two. Now Gru and his wife are agents with the Anti-Villain League doing good deeds. Oh, and let’s not forget those crazy little yellow Minions! Everyone caught up? Good!
Picking up from part two, there’s a new villain in town: Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a crazed former kid TV star turned evil, who has a penchant for 80’s music, dancing, and using diabolical expanding pink bubble gum. But after Bratt steals a huge diamond and Gru fails to nab him… again…the new director at the A.V.L. fires Gru and his wife on the spot. Even worse, Gru’s faithful Minions (all voiced by Pierre Coffin), leave Gru when they learn that their fearless leader won’t be going back to a life of crime. Harsh.
At least Gru’s daughters, eldest Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), beanie-wearing Edith (Dana Gaier), and unicorn-obsessed little Agnes (Nev Scharrel), are on his side. But quicker than you can say, “trope time!”, Gru is informed of his secretive twin brother, Dru (also voiced by Carell), and off the family goes to Fredonia to meet him in his unimaginative wealth and splendor. Looks like raising pigs (thousands of them) pays the bills! Anyway Dru, all wavy hair and giggly-girl excitement, has a secret to show his brother: their family legacy. Apparently, their late father was a super-villain and Dru is itching for Gru to teach him the ways of being bad.
Reluctant at first, Gru is enticed by all the gadgets and that impossibly cool do-anything jet-car. Meanwhile, Lucy is coming to grips with trying to be a mom for the first time and the Minions (the best part of the movie) are arrested after being on a TV singing show doing a hilarious rendition of the Modern Major-General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance. While Gru and Dru are having fun, Bratt steals back the diamond, and plans to reenact his old TV show where he destroys Hollywood using a Godzilla-sized life-like robot of himself.
Gru, wanting his job back, tricks his gullible and inept brother into stealing the diamond from Bratt, under the guise of their regular heist. Needless to say, things don’t well and the whole family is later caught up in the massive destruction and widespread panic in downtown Hollywood, while Bratt attacks with no emotion for whom he annihilates. No kidding, this guy must’ve murdered hundreds in the ensuing carnage that he causes with his laser cannon. Sure, Gru saves the day but geez, Louise! Isn’t anyone gonna talk about that white elephant, er… unicorn in the room?
Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, who wrote both the original and the sequel, have really strained the charm for the long-nosed semi-villain, adding too many layers and plots to keep the story alive. Like juggling plates on sticks, it’s a tough act to follow without breaking a few in the process. Bratt is a really annoying, boring, and two-dimensional villain, while Dru is SO over-the-top needy that he begins to grate on your nerves. The plot is very similar to Despicable Me 2, but with dozens of gaping plot holes and many jokes that are just–meh–marginally funny, unlike the original.
The secondary plot of Lucy being a new-mommy-in-training has warmth and depth, but for my money, it’s those Minions that sold the movie. Every single time they’re on screen, I LOL’d big time. Their hijinks, slapstick antics, vocalization (I love their bizarre language), and storyline on the game show and in prison, were worth the price of admission alone. Can’t wait for Minions 2 !!
Three Fugitives (1989)