Despicable Me 3 is thrice as fun

Gags litter Despicable Me 3.
Gags litter Despicable Me 3.PHOTO: UIP

REVIEW / ANIMATION

DESPICABLE ME 3 (PG)

90 minutes/Opens today/3.5 stars

The story: Evil-turned-good Gru's (Steve Carell) nemesis here is a bitter former television child star, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), who is determined to relive his glory days in dastardly ways. Gru also finds out that he has a twin brother Dru (Carell), who looks exactly like him - but with a full head of blond hair to his bald pate. And Dru wants them to team up to snatch a huge diamond that Bratt has stolen.

Three movies in and this series has settled on a nice mix of breezy tone, funny gags and sweet moments.

The opening sequence alone is enough to raise some smiles as Bratt pulls off a heist to the soundtrack of Michael Jackson's irrepressible hit, Bad. The period details of the 1980s child star's get-up are perfect, from the flat top mullet haircut to the over-the-top shoulder pads.

His army of weaponised figurines is jokily christened Bratt Pack, a reference to the Brat Pack - a group of young actors including Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez who frequently appeared in coming-of-age movies in the 1980s.

Parker, creator of the no-holds- barred animated series South Park (1997 to present), has a ball voicing the petulant villain and so does Carell as he plays with the dynamic between the twin brothers: one who has given up a life of crime and one who is dying to dip his toes into shady business.

Director Pierre Coffin, who helmed the previous two instalments, pairs up with a new co-director, Kyle Balda, here. The two had worked together on the spin-off flick Minions (2015), the titular querulous, yellow creatures being the breakout stars of the Despicable Me series.

But while carrying an entire movie might have been a tad much for the little critters, they are still a blast in little, manic doses. The side story of their incarceration is a hoot as they wrest control of the jail away from the tough guys and eventually break out of prison.

The sweet moments involve Gru's wife and fellow crime-fighter Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) learning to be a mother to his three adopted daughters.

But not to worry, things don't get too saccharine. In fact, the complicated relationship between Gru and Dru suggests that sibling rivalry could be on the cards for the next movie.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2017, with the headline 'Thrice as fun'. Print Edition | Subscribe