Fourth film in 'Despicable Me' series retains charm, fun - Catholic Courier
A scene from the movie “Despicable Me 4.” Minions (Pierre Coffin), Silas (Steve Coogan), Edith (Dana Gaier), Agnes (Madison Polan), Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Gru Jr., Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and Gru (Steve Carell) appear in the movie "Despicable Me 4." (OSV News photo by Universal)

Fourth film in ‘Despicable Me’ series retains charm, fun

NEW YORK (OSV News) — Though it comes across as somewhat unfocused, the animated comedy “Despicable Me 4” (Universal) retains much of the charm that has characterized the whole series of films to which it belongs. It’s an agreeable piece of fun that’s suitable for all but the very youngest. 

This latest chapter in the adventures of Gru (voice of Steve Carell), the would-be supervillain whose heart of gold long ago turned him into a loving dad and a crimefighter, opens with him assisting in the arrest and imprisonment of French criminal Maxime Le Mal (voice of Will Ferrell). Le Mal vows vengeance on Gru’s family and manages to escape in short order. 

With Le Mal on the loose, Gru and the clan — Kristen Wiig voices his sensible wife, Lucy — have to go into hiding and assume false identities. But Poppy (voice of Joey King), the daughter of their preppy, country club patronizing new neighbors, the Prescotts (voices of Stephen Colbert and Chloe Fineman), discovers their secret and uses it to blackmail Gru. 

While the comic chaos wrought by Gru’s trademark Twinkie-shaped minions continues to evoke laughs, director Chris Renaud’s addition to a franchise he helped to establish goes down too many plot paths at once. Some of the details of the story — Le Mal’s goal is to kidnap infant Gru Jr., for instance — also seem a bit challenging for kids. 

Film gets ‘general patronage’ classification from reviewer

Genuinely objectionable ingredients are kept out of the mix. And there’s a morally interesting, though underdeveloped, subplot about the refusal of one of Gru’s adopted daughters to use the pseudonym she’s been given on the grounds that it would constitute lying. 

Yet scenes of danger, a touch of potty humor and a minion mooning may give the parents of the littlest moviegoers pause. 

The film contains characters in peril, a flash of nonhuman rear nudity and a scatological sight gag. The OSV News classification is A-I — general patronage. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. 

Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News. 

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