DESPICABLE ME 4
Photograph: Illumination and Universal Pictures
  • Film

Despicable Me 4

A summer babysitter that will entertain kids, and suffice for chaperones

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Time Out says

Sometimes – especially during school holidays – your best hope for a mid-franchise kids’ flick is for ‘decent enough’ rather than ‘insultingly awful’.   

Despicable Me 4 is that kids flick, a cartoon caper that falls along way short of the buoyant delights of the first two movies and even the subpar third but will do just enough to amuse the youngsters. 

Does it matter? Kids will be thrilled to reconnect with Gru (voiced again by Steve Carell), his wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig), and their adorable daughters (Miranda Cosgrove, Madison Polan, Dana Gaier). More important, they will delight in the extensive Minion mayhem, as frenetically silly as ever. 

Let’s be honest: few kids will complain about 95 more minutes of Minions

But writers Mike White and Ken Daurio seem to have stitched their screenplay together from various drafts, an unfocused approach exacerbated by disjointed direction from Chris Renaud and Patrick Delage. The general plot involves Gru’s high school nemesis (Will Ferrell) conquering the world by turning people into culture-crushing cockroaches. (Whoever decided a screen filled with roaches would be good for lighthearted animation might consider their suitability for kids’ entertainment.) Meanwhile, the family also has to adjust to a new baby, life in a witness protection program, and a villainous teen neighbor (Joey King).

The disparate plot lines barely connect, though each possesses individual amusements. And the voice cast seems to be having fun, with Carell in particular holding it all together with his usual charm. Plus, let’s be honest: few kids will complain about 95 minutes of Minion antics.

In US theaters now. Out in UK cinemas Jul 12. 

Cast and crew

  • Director:Patrick Delage, Chris Renaud
  • Screenwriter:Ken Daurio, Mike White
  • Cast:
    • Steve Carell
    • Chris Renaud
    • Pierre Coffin
    • Kristen Wiig
    • Joey King
    • Sofía Vergara
    • Steve Coogan
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