L Movie Review 2How many minions does it take to screw on a lightbulb? The same amount of minions it takes to screw audiences out of 13 bucks at the theater. There are countless yellow henchmen in Despicable Me 4, but their imbecile slapstick is more wearisome than wonderful, and you may start to feel worn down by the amount of childishness on display.

Ideally, this franchise is supposed to deliver laughs out of villains acting benign, which in this case means having a heart of gold and being terrible at heists. But while the concept of mad geniuses having the brains of elementary school students is somewhat clever, there are so many mindless vignettes that we end up feeling more exhausted than entertained. 

The film, directed by Despicable Me regular Chris Renaud, picks up almost a decade after the last one left off and there’s been a new addition to the franchise. Gru (Steve Carrell) now has a baby boy, Gru Jr., who has more than just his dad’s crooked nose, slicked-back hair and harsh-sounding accent. He’s got his dad’s penchant for chaos. You thought changing diapers was hard — this baby treats every day like it’s April Fool’s Day.  

Gru’s got his hands full, alright, but he enjoys his life of suburban mundanity, doing the dishes, cleaning up diapers, keeping the wife in a chipper mood. You know, dad stuff. But then his arch nemesis, Maxime (Will Ferrell), escapes from a high-security prison and his entire routine is thwarted. He takes his family out of their comfortable habitat to a remote location, where they can avoid Maxime’s revenge plot, which involves a ploy to steal Gru’s new baby. 

Of course, all of this is just an excuse to let Gru’s minions run wild, bouncing off walls and exploding off vending machines while they speak in mumbled gibberish, which is what fans are really paying to see. They should honestly just call this franchise The Minions, since the wide-eyed, banana-hued, Tic-Tac-shaped villains have earned this franchise nearly $5 billion in revenues, not the family misunderstandings of Gru. There’s an admirable Looney Tunes quality to these characters — a scene where some of them are turned into Mega Minions is hilariously bonkers — but their hijinks might be better suited for television than a feature-length film.

The endless stream of minion antics does have its moments, but at 90 minutes of crammed, cacophonous silliness, there just aren’t enough jokes to warrant the onslaught of misfires. Yes, this movie is going to entertain young children. Yes, it’s going to make bank at the box office. And yes, it’s going to sell more toys than Toys “R” Us. Does that make it a good film? You tell me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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