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Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted review

Everyone's favorite Central Park zoo animals are back for another adventure---this time in 3-D.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Photograph: Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Time Out Ratings

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

The first two Madagascar flicks earned more than a billion dollars, so it's no surprise that the creators of the third installment (including indie auteur Noah Baumbach, who wrote the screenplay) have pulled out all the stops on this one, sending Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman on an adventure that spans three continents in eye-popping, neon-bright 3-D. While it's all very impressive, the story zips and zings so quickly from one clever set piece to the next—it's a heist flick set in Monte Carlo! No wait, it's a psychedelic circus romance!—that it's impossible, especially for kids, to catch all the nuances and jokes. And unfortunately, the message of discovering yourself on life's journey gets lost in the hubbub.

Still, there are some inspired moments. Frances McDormand is brilliant as the voice of Chantel DuBois, a pointy-nosed, scooter-riding French animal-control officer who will stop at nothing, and we mean nothing, to catch her prey. The hyperkinetic action even pauses for a blissful moment to let DuBois croon Edith Piaf's "Je Ne Regrette Rien" to her injured colleagues. A gang of tough Cockney puppies, a melancholy bear and Martin Short's goofy trained seal all make the most of their screen time, and Marty the zebra's silly little Afro-circus jingle ( "...polka dot, polka dot, polka dot, Afro!") is destined to be sung ad nauseam by amused children for the rest of the summer. But in the end, the overall impression of Madagascar 3 is less than the sum of its loud, garish parts.

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Dirs. Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon. 2012. PG. 93 min. Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith.

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