Despicable Me 4 Review

Hampered by dull voice performances, nearly everything about this story and its humor feels dated and uninspired.

PLOT: Gru, Lucy, Margo, Edith, and Agnes welcome a new member to the family, Gru Jr., who is intent on tormenting his dad. Gru faces a new nemesis in Maxime Le Mal and his girlfriend Valentina, and the family is forced to go on the run.

REVIEW: There are no bigger juggernauts in film animation than Pixar and Illumination Entertainment. With Pixar recently having absolutely monster success with Inside Out 2, eyes moved towards Universal’s moneymaker to see if it still has the juice. And while I’m sure Despicable Me 4 is going to make a boatload of money at the box office, it won’t get to the levels of Inside Out 2. And the simple fact is that it’s just not as layered, complex or even as funny. Because while Pixar seemed to take the criticism as a challenge, Illumination seems to be leaning toward the pointless.

Despicable Me 4 follows Gru and his family forced to go into witness protection after his school nemesis swears revenge against him. Gru is then coerced into helping a burgeoning villain with her heist plan, putting his world into danger. At this point in the series, it’s hard to even understand why they would break a formula that works so well. Gru’s connection with the children always works as a great throughline yet here one of the main plotlines is how his baby doesn’t like him. Anyone with half a brain is going to see how this arc goes, but the connections to the original kids feels very distant. Margo’s whole subplot gets completely forgotten at one point and Gru seemingly takes over what should have been Margo’s story. It’s one of many baffling decisions.

We need a reckoning in Hollywood when it comes to voice acting because far too many big stars are putting in minimal effort. Will Ferrell is just doing a cheap impression of Steve Carell‘s Gru. Sofía Vergara is mostly just reacting, with minimal lines. Heck, I forgot that Kristen Wiig was even involved because her character is so inconsequential. At least Joey King is putting a little something extra to her character with a deep lisp. She was one of the only people that seemed to care. Otherwise, most of these people could have been played by just about anyone, except without the massive price tag. Even Steve Carell manages to make Gru bland and uninteresting. Let’s get back to putting people back in roles who actually care.

The side story with the Minions has its moments, though it makes me question why they decided to go the Superhero route. One of many reasons the movie feels like it could have been released pre-Pandemic. So many old ideas. The humor feels so dated at times that it’s rather baffling. There’s a full minute of jokes about a credit card reader and having to pull the card out fast to get it to work. Not only does that joke feel about a decade old, but it also feels very “old man yelling at clouds.” Plus, they do know most people tap these days, right?

While not nearly as egregious as earlier this year’s The Garfield Movie, there’s not a lot of energy present in Despicable Me 4. I think it ultimately comes down to how much you enjoy the Minions and that style of comedy. They’re easily the best part, which is strange to say since I often find them juvenile. There’s nothing that’s going to offend anybody but it ultimately just feels pointless. In many ways, this feels like a spinoff where the characters’ decisions ultimately don’t affect the larger narrative. Which is never something you want for a mainline entry.

Despicable Me 4 is Only In Theaters On JULY 3RD, 2024.



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