Genre: CG Animation
Director: Chris Renaud
Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, Pierre Coffin, Joey King, Sofia Vergara, Stephen Colbert, Miranda Cosgrove, Chloe Fineman, Steve Coogan, Chris Renaud, Dana Gaier, Madison Polan
Runtime: 1 hr 35 mins
Rating: PG
Released By: UIP
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 4 July 2024

Synopsis:  In the first Despicable Me movie in seven years, Gru, the world’s favorite supervillain-turned-Anti-Villain League-agent, returns for an exciting, bold new era of Minions mayhem in Illumination’s Despicable Me 4. Following the 2022 summer blockbuster phenomenon of Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru, which earned almost $1 billion worldwide, the biggest global animated franchise in history now begins a new chapter as Gru (Oscar® nominee Steve Carrell) and Lucy (Oscar® nominee Kristen Wiig) and their girls —Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Madison Polan)—welcome a new member to the Gru family, Gru Jr., who is intent on tormenting his dad. Gru faces a new nemesis in Maxime Le Mal (Emmy winner Will Ferrell) and his femme fatale girlfriend Valentina (Emmy nominee Sofia Vergara), and the family is forced to go on the run.

Movie Review:

It may have been seven years since the last ‘Despicable Me’ outing, but as the last Minions spinoff just two years ago has proved, there is definitely no love lost for the adorable yellow henchmen. Even so, this latest instalment does leave one to question whether its franchise stalwarts Chris Renaud (who co-directed the first two movies) and Ken Daurio (who wrote each of the three previous films) have run out of ideas creatively to keep the series going; and if so though, then unfortunately new joiner Mike White (who co-wrote this latest with Daurio) doesn’t seem to have much up his sleeve too.

More so than any of the earlier entries, ‘Despicable Me 4’ feels disjointed. On paper, it is about how Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his family – besides Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and the girls Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Galer) and Agnes (Madison Polan), there is also Gru and Lucy’s new baby Gru Jr. – are forced to relocate to a nondescript residential neighbourhood in Mayflower and adopt new identities after Gru’s nemesis Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) escapes from the Anti-Villain League’s (AVL) maximum security prison vowing to exterminate Gru; in truth however, there are at least four different subplots within, which fail to come together meaningfully.

There is Gru, who while pretending to be a solar panel salesman, gets outed by their next-door teenage neighbour Poppy (Joey King), an aspiring baddie with braces and a lisp, and is blackmailed by Poppy to help her steal the honey badger mascot from Gru’s alma mater – for what it is worth though, the heist at the Hogwarts-like academy named Lycée Pas Bon is maniacal fun, especially with Gru Jr. living up to his name. Then there is Lucy, who while pretending to be a hair stylist, burns off her client’s hair, setting the stage for a supermarket chase with the girls that is unfortunately as much as they end up contributing to the movie.

There is also Maxine, who after endowing himself with the qualities of the near-indestructible cockroach in the prologue, spends his time outside prison reuniting with his army of vermin and coasting around in his roach-shaped ship with his girlfriend Valentina (Sofia Vergara) before the headmaster of Lycée Pas Bon phones in to help connect the dots. And last but not least, there is the Minions, or more specifically, five of them who have been selected by the AVL’s director Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) to undergo an experimental treatment that turns them into Mega Minions with somewhat uncontrollable superpowers, be it elasticity, strength, flight, laser vision or rock powers.

If it reads like a chaotic melange, it does play like one too. Each of these stories is entertaining in its own right, but strung together into a feature, it feels like an amalgam of unrelated elements. Thankfully then, the animation remains top-notch, not just the zany Looney Tunes-like sequences that will still prove diverting for Mom and Dad and their underage charges, but also the inventive character design that has plenty of loony details to offer. The all-star voice cast also deliver engaging performances all around, whether the over-the-top accents that Carell and Ferrell put on or the deadpanning by Coogan and Vergara.

So while it certainly hasn’t lost its sense of fun, ‘Despicable Me 4’ more than not is held together by its string of gags from start to finish. Despite the addition of Gru Jr., there isn’t much heart by way of father-baby bonding; and for that matter, it is a pity that Lucy and the girls are somewhat sidelined amidst everything else going on. We’d also wish we had more of the Minions, notwithstanding how they now have their own spinoffs, and in particular more of them in action with Gru. So even though it’s still great family entertainment, we can’t say we weren’t disappointed by how scattershot this entry was, and how amidst the gags, it had kept more of the heart that made the earlier movies sweet and heart-warming.

Movie Rating:

(Chock-full of subplots, characters and gags, this latest 'Despicable Me' entry hasn't lost any of the zany fun that defined the franchise, but otherwise lacks focus and most importantly, heart)

Review by Gabriel Chong



You might also like:


Movie Stills