Here's the straight-up burning question about Despicable Me 3.
Aren't we sick and tired of this ugly, pointy-nosed fella named Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his jabbering Minions?
Certainly the Minions are great as adorable little toys that come free with your McDonalds Happy Meals.
But seriously, that ill-conceived misstep called Minions (2015) – their own movie with Sandra Bullock as the villain – was pretty cringing and hard to sit through, right?
So how is this new flick with Gru front and centre again after Despicable Me 2 (not bad) and Despicable Me 1 (the best)?
Frankly, I was prepared to snooze right through DM3, being firstly, a jaded cynic and secondly, the completely wrong demographic since I'm as old as dinosaur and clearly not under two and a half feet short.
But surprisingly, this deal here isn't that bad or grating. In fact, it's quite watchable even for a grumpy guy like me.
Sure it isn't Toy Story, but at least it isn't Flop Story either.
I think that's because the grumpy guy in it, meaning Gru, has an okay foil to play against – his long-lost twin brother, Dru (also voiced by Carell).
Now, you see this movie's trailer and you'd think this Dru dude is some manufactured new character whom you'd love to hate.
You'd be absolutely right because I don't wish to see Dru and his silly-wavy Eurotrash blonde hair ever again because once is definitely enough.
But what Dru gives effectively here is to remind us that Gru used to be a monumental bada** before he found family time with three little orphan girls and love with Anti-Villain League agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) from DM2.
I tell you I like that first sequel, DM2, in 2013 because the BF-GF courtship between Gru and Lucy was really cute and funny.
But in this flick now, sadly Lucy is criminally underused – “criminal” joke fully intended – as she copes with being an overly-protective new mom to the three girls by thrashing an entire cafe of bewildered people just because one of the tots lets out an innocent cry.
Oops, very sorry for totally wrecking your cosy family hangout, folks.
So, we're left with the bro time between Gru and Dru which is actually quite fun since Dru keeps trying to tempt Gru back to his natural heritage of the extreme dark side with all kinds of super-awesome villainous vehicles and contraptions which would make even Batman go crooked as Badman.
“Brother, teach me the art of villainy,” Dru begs.
I mean this twin dude is completely useless as a villain.
Unlike Gru who still possesses his sharp but curtailed criminal instincts which he revives to take down the real nasty here – some guy locked in the retro cheese of the 1980s named Balthazar Bratt (South Park's Trey Parker).
This Balthazar villain is a hasbeen child star who's missing his former glory days as a young fake supervillain in his axed hit TV series and now comes back to steal a giant diamond and terrorise people as a real grown-up baddie.
I know, I know.
You guys hate that lazy movie trend now of revving up the slack with loud 1980s pop songs and then stopping them before it gets too embarrassing to groove your butt in your seat, right?
Man, Balthazar is really annoying and out of sync in the way a Michael Jackson impersonator would be if he were performing the moonwalk at MJ's funeral.
I don't know about you but I used to see irritating slickers like this parking cars as a performance art.
Which brings us to the only question that truly matters here in Despicable Me 3 – how is that performing horde of Minions?
Rather surprisingly, they really do save the day here.
Now rudderless without a criminal boss as their leader after Gru turned good, they go in search of a new evil mastermind and somehow end up in a prison.
The inspired sequence where they actually run the prison themselves like a gang of yellow baldie baddies is hilarious.
It makes you wanna go get Minions: Changi Prison toys right now.