At this point, you get the feeling that the team behind "Shrek" can probably churn out sequels in their sleep. So even though they get caught napping a few times in "Shrek the Third," they still come through with a thoroughly enjoyable outing.
Picking up where the last film ended, Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) are living happily in the kingdom of Far, Far Away when Fiona's enchanted frog father (John Cleese, reduced to a one-scene cameo) falls ill. Deciding he's not king material, Shrek sets out with pals Donkey (Eddie Murphy), and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to find the next in line for the throne: A bratty teen named Artie (Justin Timberlake).
True to the franchise's established M.O., there's a healthy balance of jokes aimed at kids (frequent poop and fart gags) and those aimed at adults (the movie's take on characters from the Arthurian legends—including Eric Idle's hippie burn-out Merlin—is especially clever). It's all wrapped up in the prettiest animation of the franchise so far.
However, this "Shrek" is a little lazy in parts (Donkey and Puss switch bodies in a gag that never pays off), and really doesn't deliver any stand-out scenes to rival the original's Gingerbread Man torture sequence or the sequel's introduction of Puss. And while the new villain, Rupert Everett's Prince Charming, has his moments, he's just not as strong as John Lithgow's Lord Farquaad or Jennifer Saunders' amazing Fairy Godmother.
But the hits more than outweigh the misses, and Shrek should have no problem carving out his share of the summer '07 box office plunder.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times