Despicable Me 4 Criticized for Being 'Good Enough' Compared to Franchise's Previous Offerings

In the style of a film review blog:

Illumination's Despicable Me franchise has been a dominant force in kids' movies since its inception, with numerous entries and a minion-loving audience. The franchise's latest offering, "Despicable Me 4," is slated for release on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, mere days from now. With the long Fourth of July weekend, families will undoubtedly be flooding theaters for what they hope to be another fun outing with the antics of Gru, the adorable minions, and the latest in animated comedy.

However, critical opinion on "Despicable Me 4" is decidedly split, with some critics thinking it exceeds merely "good enough" and others deeming it exactly that, good enough for kids' entertainment but not much else. This disparity in opinion is reflected in the current Rotten Tomatoes score of 56%.

Dirk Libbey of CinemaBlend acutely summarizes the critics' opinions when he writes, "There clearly wasn't a compelling story to tell here, but rather than just wait until somebody actually had an idea, Illumination moved forward regardless, putting together a collection of the best ideas they had at the time." Mr. Libbey rates the film a full star out of five, speaking specifically to the story's utter lack of compelling narrative.

Matt Donato of Paste Magazine agrees, rating the film a 2 out of 10 and warning that "Despicable Me 4" is even worse than critics (or hopeful moviegoers) may have expected. In the critic's words, "There isn't an ounce of recommendable substance, soulful values, or slapstick sincerity within Despicable Me 4." If you like watching animated yellow tushies in denim overalls jiggle, maybe you'll chuckle a handful of times. Anything beyond that, this sixth Despicable Me universe entry can't deliver.

Leigh Monson of AV Club grades it a D+, calling the movie a "bore," it will inevitably be "good enough" to become yet another mainstream blockbuster for Universal and Illumination. Anything deeper than "good enough" is apparently the enemy.

However, not all critics hate "Despicable Me 4." Dominic Griffin of Looper, while admitting the movie exists to entertain (not challenge) kids, calls the film an "unassailable success" in that way, even if that is a low bar. To Griffin, the Minions do the heavy lifting, and all forthcoming films should focus on them. Neil Pond of Neil's Entertainment Picks agrees, saying it's hard not to love the little mayhem-making sidekicks, who threaten to steal the comedic spotlight from Steve Carell and Will Ferrell.

Pond applauds the infectiously clever comedy, writing: Jokes abound in the zippy script (co-written by The White Lotus' Mike White) and the crazily creative visual riffs on everything from James Bond gizmos to Tom Cruise aerial stunts, Austin Powers outlandishness, Transformers, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car and even Elvis' Jailhouse Rock, by way of A-Ha. You won't find many other movies with such an eclectic mix of plot devices and sheer throwaway sidelines gaggery, including a hyper honey badger, Minion-officiated tennis, a giant flying robotic cockroach, and a baby billygoat that confuses the command to "sit" with, well, something decidedly messier on the floor.

It seems critical opinion is thoroughly split on "Despicable Me 4" — it holds a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing — though their opinions may not have much bearing on parents' decision to see the film, with many kiddos likely calling the shots when it comes to revisiting the world of Gru and his Minions.

So throw some bananas in your bag, grab your weird Minion souvenir cup and catch "Despicable Me 4" in theaters (or domes, given the trend) starting Wednesday, July 3.

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