The Bock’s Office: ‘Despicable Me 3’ — Sometimes bad ain’t that bad
A movie like “Despicable Me 3” involves more numbers than you’d expect for a kid’s flick. On the one hand, you’ve got double the pleasure of its star, yet that’s lessened when you have to divide its output by the number in a series that should have stopped at one.
The point is, the viewers who have yet to learn that basic math are the ones who will still be impressed, but that’s not to judge anyone else who likes it.
Since joining the Anti-Villain League, reformed bad guy Gru (voice of Steve Carell) has become a top agent alongside new bride Lucy (Kristen Wiig) in ensuring the safety of the world against evil.
However, they’ve met their match in the form of Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a former child star turned master criminal, a thorn in their sides with a massive public theft that not only embarrasses Gru and Lucy on a personal and professional level but also gets them booted from their jobs.
There’s little time for Gru’s usual sulking, though, when he’s presented with another huge life change — he has an identical twin brother he never knew existed who wants to meet him.
Gru, Lucy and family are whisked off to the nation of Freedonia to find Gru’s long-lost sibling Dru (Carell) lives in the lap of luxury and is ready to coerce his twin into his heritage: supervillainy.
And, though Gru has committed to turning over a new leaf, a temporary visit back to the dark side may be the only way to get back in the AVL’s good graces.
Carell’s over-the-top, jumbled Eastern European accent and accompanying maniacal chortle doesn’t get old even if Gru isn’t the kind of guy who develops much from movie to movie other than being a devoted dad and husband despite his weird history. Still, when you’ve grown up thinking your dad died of disappointment as a result of your birth — because that’s what your hag of a mother (Julie Andrews) always told you — learning you’ve got a double is bound to change your life a little, no matter how casual “The Parent Trap” makes it seem.
Boasting the same martini glass physique topped off by glorious golden locks compared to his cue ball twin, Dru may be Gru’s lookalike in most respects, though Carell plays him with a more nasal yet relaxed voice as the scion of a wealthy pig farming family who’s eager to get his hands dirty in the dastardly doings of their late father, only needing his bro’s guidance in the ways of crime.
First stop, petty theft of lollipops. Baby steps…
For all her vocal talent, Wiig is unfortunately given a diminished role this time as Lucy, once a supreme spy now struggling with motherhood to three adopted daughters, the elder of whom, Margo and Edith (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier), aren’t getting much development either. At least there’s knee-high Agnes (Nev Scharrel), whose quest for a real unicorn is stronger than ever.
“South Park” co-creator Parker steals the show as the showiest villain yet of this franchise — or at least tying with Scarlet Overkill — as a hammy TV has-been and overall man-child mentally stuck in the 1980s, when he was the beloved star of a show about an evil child genius.
Catchphrase: “I’ve been a b-a-a-a-d boy!”
Armed with bombastic bubblegum, a supersonic keytar, lethal break dancing moves and a militant Rubik’s cube, his choice of weaponry is almost as tacky as his hair, boasting both a high-top fade and a mullet.
Did we mention he loves the ‘80s?
As for the Minions, the little yellow buggers are off on their own escapade after a few harsh words with their leader and a strike, ending up in the clink as a result and doing pretty well as the cold-blooded rulers of the cell block.
After the beautiful simplicity and silliness of the Minions’ spinoff, it’s a little exasperating to return to its source material, which gets a little more threadbare in story each time.
Apart from the novelty of Carell crafting two similar yet distinct characters side by side — Gru always wearing black to Dru’s white — there’s not much adventure to be had, even with a tricked-out supercar, a flying cargo boat and colossal robot shaped like a 10-year-old.
However, it’s got more than its share in good-hearted laughs, amped up by music again provided by Pharrell Williams, plus a cheery design and swift pace that make up for its story shortcomings.
If we didn’t need a second “Despicable Me,” we also didn’t need a third, but unlike a lot of cartoon sequels, even when this series is bad, it can’t help but turn out somewhat good, much like its conflicted hero.
And, if you can get past an intro that fashions Gru in a gum thong, you can get through the rest of it.
About a week ago I was rolling a bale of hay down past the loading dock of the corral so that I could throw hay over the fence. Right there in the path was some rhubarb. It isn’t that the rhubarb hadn’t been there before, but I thought it had died out during the drought. It isn’t easy to get water to that location. The rhubarb is nice and tender, and I’m determined to use it up before the stalks get tough. So I hunted up my rhubarb recipes.