Despicable Me 4

At this point, the Despicable Me / Minions movies are like comfort food. They give you exactly what you expect, with no effort to deviate from the formula. The series gets away with that because each installment has consistently delivered good-natured laughs, largely from those little yellow Minions. Despicable Me 4 follows the tradition. It’s no better and no worse than its predecessors. You know what you’re getting when you walk in, and as long as that’s all you want, the film will make you (pun intended) happy.

Gru (Steve Carell) is forced to move his family to a safe house after busting supervillain Maxime Le Mal, voiced by Will Ferrell. La Mal has vowed revenge; specifically, he wants to take the new baby Gru and wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) have just welcomed. He’s even got a special device that gives him cockroach-inspired superpowers that will make it easier to carry out his devious plan. Speaking of superpowers, five of the Minions are recruited into an experimental program that gives them special abilities of their own. These so-called “Mega-Minions” are kind of like X-Men, except for the fact that they’re relatively incompetent.

Universal

Half the comedy in Despicable Me 4 comes from Gru’s awkward attempts to integrate himself into normal society. Chatting with neighbors and playing tennis at the country club are activities that don’t come naturally to him. His feeble efforts are often funny. So is a subplot in which the teenage girl next door, Poppy Prescott (Joey King), blackmails him into stealing the mascot from a school for villains – a mascot that happens to be a honey badger. The series’ trademark wackiness ensues in a big, big way.

Then you have the Minions. A running gag about Ralph getting stuck inside a vending machine is especially hilarious. Meanwhile, the arrival of the Mega-Minions allows for the same type of madcap humor the characters always provide, yet with just enough of a twist to prevent it from feeling stale. I also got chuckles from the way real words are subtly slipped into Minion-ese gibberish. Among their utterings this time are “suppository” and “Dua Lipa.”

Despicable Me 4’s plot is nothing to write home about. It’s all over the place, quite frankly. The animation is as pleasing as ever, though. Also, Maxime is a clever new bad guy and the Mega-Minions are an enjoyable addition. There really isn’t a whole lot else to say about the movie. No ground is broken, no wheels reinvented. Gru and the Minions remain reliable for viewers who seek the pleasure that comes with getting more of something they already know they like.


out of four

Despicable Me 4 is rated PG for action and rude humor. The running time is 1 hour and 35 minutes.


© 2024 Mike McGranaghan