Surely the best thing about the Despicable franchise has always been the Minions? I’ve certainly never cared for Steve Carell’s Gru and the emotional arc of his character, and the struggles he has in this third instalment feel the strain.
Gru meets the brother he never knew he had, Dru, also voiced by Carell at an even more zanily irritating pitch. Lucy, voiced by Kristen Wiig in the second film, returns as Gru’s partner (are they together sexually?) and is given embarrassingly little to do in the fight to save the world from an 1980s obsessed super villain called Bratt, and voiced by South Park’s Trey Parker.
Bratt’s 80s time-warp affords us a few laughs – mullets, shoulder pads, synthesisers – and some well-worn hits (Michael Jackson, Madonna, Aha) but his obsession with taking revenge on Hollywood really runs out of steam. And sadly Pharrell’s work on the rest of the soundtrack is more filler than Thriller.
Not to say there isn’t effort up there on the screen – there’s almost too much detail, the makers packing the frame with doodles and ideas, maybe sensing the plot isn’t bringing it all together this time round.
I saw the film at a packed family gala in Leicester Square, at the Odeon which holds over 1000 people, including kids jacked up on sugar – the place hardly roared with laughter or joy. My two were restless and thought the baddie was stupid.
So it’s up to the Minions to save the movie, which they just about do despite too many scenes when they’re not involved. The most inspired moments feature them in a prison movie, re-enforcing my opinion that they should just concentrate on their own yellow franchise and be done with Gru, Dru and Lu.