Sunday 7 July 2024

REVIEW: Despicable Me 4 - Starring Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig and Pierre Coffin

Review by Jon Donnis

"Despicable Me 4" marks the return of Gru and his delightful yet chaotic entourage of Minions, blending humour, heart, and high-energy antics in a way that continues to entertain fans of all ages. As the first Despicable Me movie in seven years, this installment reaffirms why the franchise remains a beloved staple in animated cinema. The film kicks off with Gru attending a high school reunion where he encounters his old rival, Maxime Le Mal. This sets the stage for a series of misadventures that are both familiar and refreshingly new.

Steve Carell reprises his role as Gru with his signature mix of gruffness and charm, effortlessly delivering lines that will have both kids and adults laughing. Kristen Wiig's Lucy is as spirited as ever, providing a perfect counterbalance to Gru's sometimes over-the-top demeanor. The voice cast, including the likes of Will Ferrell and Sofia Vergara, adds a vibrant and dynamic energy to the film, making the new characters memorable additions to the franchise.

The plot, while not the most original in the series, is packed with enough twists and turns to keep viewers engaged. Maxime's transformation into a cockroach hybrid and his diabolical plan to use a transformation gun on Gru's son, Gru Jr., provide the central conflict, driving the narrative forward with a mix of humour and high stakes. The introduction of Gru Jr. adds a new layer to Gru's character, showing him navigating the challenges of fatherhood in the most absurd and hilarious ways. Although when ever you introduce a new character to a franchise in this way, it usually means that the film makers are getting desperate. Think Cousin Oliver in The Brady Bunch, Olivia in the Cosby Show, Seven in Married with Children, Nicky Banks in Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and so on, although these were TV shows, there is an element of "Jumping the Shark" whenever you add such a character, Gru Jr may end up being the Jump the Shark moment of the "Despicable  Me" franchise.

Back to the film and one of the film's highlights is the sequence involving the Megaminions. These super-powered Minions bring a new level of chaos and comedy, although their stint is short-lived due to the unintended havoc they wreak. The scenes where they cause city-wide destruction are among the funniest, showcasing the series' knack for slapstick humour and visual gags.

The animation is top-notch, as expected from Illumination. The vibrant colours, detailed character designs, and dynamic action sequences make the film visually appealing. The soundtrack, filled with upbeat and catchy tunes, complements the film's energetic pace, enhancing the overall viewing experience.

Despite its strengths, "Despicable Me 4" does have moments where it feels like a collection of skits rather than a cohesive story. Some scenes seem designed solely for laughs, which, while effective, can disrupt the narrative flow. Additionally, adults might find the plot somewhat predictable and reminiscent of previous installments. However, this predictability doesn't detract significantly from the film's enjoyment, especially for its target audience of young children.

"Despicable Me 4" is a fun-filled family film that delivers on its promise of humour and heart. While it may not break new ground in terms of originality, it succeeds in its primary mission of making audiences laugh. The stellar voice cast, excellent animation, and witty dialogue ensure that it remains a strong entry in the franchise. Kids will undoubtedly love it, and adults will appreciate the familiar charm and occasional laugh-out-loud moments. It's a solid 8 out of 10, reaffirming that Gru and his Minions still have plenty of mischief and mayhem to offer.

In Cinemas Now!