Steve Carell doubles your fun in Despicable Me 3 – he not only voices Gru, the bald-pated baddie turned goodie, but Dru, his blond, long-lost twin and a villain-in-training with an even more delightfully bizarre accent. The yellow band of fart-tooting Minions are back (their group sing of Gilbert & Sullivan is not to be missed), as is Kristen Wiig as Gru’s wife Lucy Wilde, still trying to bond with his three adopted daughters. The plot kicks in when the couple are fired by the Anti-Villain League’s meanie new boss (Jenny Slate) for failure to apprehend the notorious Balthazar Bratt (hilariously voiced by South Park mischief-maker Trey Parker). Bratt is a former 1980’s child star – cue soundtrack bites from Michael Jackson, Van Halen, a-Ha and Madonna – who is out to steal the world’s largest diamond unless Gru and Dru can stop him.
Whew! The overload of subplots can be wearying, but you’ll be laughing too much to complain. Pierre Coffin (who voices the Minions) and co-director Kyle Balda keep the plot spinning merrily. Pharrell Williams contributes five new songs to the mix, including the hummable “There’s Something Special.” It’s no mystery why Illumination’s franchise is still something special after three go-rounds – the box-office gross is a whopping $1.5 billion and counting. Carell is the life of the party and the main reason this animated blast of slapstick silliness packs appeal beyond the PG crowd.