Despicable Me 4: Hilarious Family Fun

I have loved the Despicable Me films from the very beginning. I love animation and comedy; with Steve Carrell voicing Gru, they’ve been wonderful fun, so I was excited that we were getting a new film after seven years. Despicable Me 4 is hilarious family fun with a cast of crazy characters that will keep you laughing, animation is full of hidden details and fun surprises, and the entire cast is excellent. 

Despicable Me 4, produced by Illumination, is an animated comedy film directed by Chris Renaud, co-directed by Patrick Delage (in his directorial debut) and written by Mike White and Ken Daurio. In this fourth film in the installment and the sixth overall in the series, Gru (Steve Carrell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and their girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier, and Agnes (Madison Polan, welcome a new addition, Gru Jr. who is intent on tormenting his father. When Gru faces a new nemesis, Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and his femme fatale girlfriend Valentina (Sofia Vergara, the family must go into hiding. The only problem is that they have a difficult time blending in and Gru finds his next door neighbor’s teenage daughter Poppy (Joey King) blackmailing him into pulling a heist. Will the family manage to stay out of trouble or will they have to defeat Maxime in order to get their lives back? The film also stars Stephen Colbert as Perry Prescott, Poppy’s father, Chloe Fineman as Patsy Prescott, her mother, Steve Coogan as Silas Ramsbottom, Pierre Coffin as the voice of the minions, and June Squibb as Übelschlecht, principal of Gru’s old villain school, Lycée Pas Bon. 

One of the reasons I really enjoyed this installment in the Despicable Me movies is that it was funny right away, with little details and humorous scenes that kept me laughing throughout the entire film. From little Gru Jr, causing trouble for his father and the minions getting into situations, like falling into a jello mold, there is no end to the funny scenes. Gru and Lucy both face challenges in fitting in with hilarious results. Poppy is the ultimate blend of an evil villain want to be crossed with Pippi Longstocking. Maxime’s reasons for getting back at Gru stem from Gru foiling him in a talent show in junior high. With Mega minions on scene and cute cockroaches, there is something for everyone in the family. 

Part of what makes it all come together is the emotional and endearing ways of the various characters. Gru Jr. is so delightful while Gru’s love for his son makes you root for him. Lucy is the ultimate caring mom while the three girls, Margo, Edith and Agnes are easy for young children to feel a connection for. Even the animals and bugs in the film are adorable and easy to love. Poppy is tough but also makes friends with Gru and his family. Each character, even the villains like Maxime, Valentina, and Übelschlecht are fun even as you root for Gru and his family to defeat them. And the minions, especially the new Mega Minions, always make the films that much better and funnier. 

There are endless tiny details that keep the film enjoyable. The music ramps up the action scenes and some of the choices add details for people to geek out over. The villain school has fun with time out for good kids or awards for best villain. The car that Gru and Poppy use is another call out to a great film. I’ll let you guess which one after you see the movie. Between the music, the tiny animated details and the superb voice acting, there is a lot of depth to the movie. 

As with any film, it is the voice actors who allow us to connect to the characters. Without their skills, these characters wouldn’t have nearly as much heart. Steve Carrell does his usual excellent job being awkward and loving as Gru with a great connection to Kristen Wiig as Lucy and the rest of the family. Kristen Wiig is upbeat and loving but infuses moments of her own struggles in fitting in. Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, Dana Gaier as Edith and Madison Polan as Agnes are just as fun and emotional as the previous films, providing warmth and vulnerability. Joey King as Poppy is outstanding, a brilliant combination of teen girl and burgeoning villain with heart, just like Gru. Will Ferrell as Maxime and Sofia Vegara as Valentina are both delightfully funny as the antagonists of the movie. The rest of the cast, Stephen Colbert, Chloe Fineman, Steve Coogan, Pierre Coffin, and June Squibb are superb in their roles, adding extra humor and highlights to the movie.

The one thing I did notice is that while there are wonderful details and depth to the animation, there is a lot going on in the narrative as well. The movie focuses on both Gru and his family but also the minions as they become agents for the Anti Villain League. While I laughed at both plotlines and the story came together in the end, that is one element that might be more difficult for younger audiences to follow. However, I feel like having those elements makes the film funnier and adds scenes that will keep the adults engaged along with their children. 

If you liked the previous films in the franchise, I do recommend going to see Despicable Me 4. It is hilarious family fun, as funny as the first movie and Gru Jr, definitely steals the movie, even from the minions. The voice acting is excellent, all the different characters were delightfully crazy and I loved all the tiny details that added layers to the animation and to the story. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Mega Minions

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