Uh oh. Is Shrek the new Beethoven? Cute kids' movie has surprise upfront success but makes one (or five) too many sequels. Am I talking about the Saint Bernard or the ogre? Um, both.
The reach of Dreamworks may have finally exceeded its grasp. After a string of ultra-successful animated films (both prior Shreks, Madagascar and Shark Tale), perhaps the production company has run out of gas. While the first two fairy tale amalgams contained layered, punchy dialog—the kind that adults and children both laugh at for very different reasons—it's clear this installment was penned long after the original successes of the franchise, and the script pays the price.
It's still Shrek, so children are certain to like it, but with most of the originality surprisingly vacant, adults will not be raving like they did about the prior sequel.
After the death of the king, Shrek (Mike Myers) balks at the thought of ascending the throne or becoming a father, so he grabs faithful sidekicks Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss (Antonio Banderas) and journeys overseas to locate the other heir, Artie (Justin Timberlake). Sounds OK, but Donkey's crooning moves from cute to obnoxious, and Puss' cuddly cat eyes were exploited last time. But at least there's additional farting, burping and vomiting.
If you get conned into watching this film, see if you can pick out who the famous voice is behind each character (like Regis Philbin and Seth Rogen). Shrek may go the way of dog, but at least it's packed with fun cameos.