Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a depressing film. Not because of its content, of course, which falls in line with your standard genteel Saturday morning cartoon platitudes of believing in oneself. No, this is a depressing film because of its simple existence. It’s depressing because it’s yet another Madagascar film, the final vestige of the post-Shrek melding of family film and pop culture overload. With part three, we get more of the same — and I mean that in the sense that Europe’s Most Wanted and its predecessors are completely interchangeable. Here, we get a continuation of the second film, with our crew of talking zoo animals still trying to get to back to their home of Manhattan. This time, they end up in France, and after being chased by a crazed animal control agent (voiced by Francis McDormand), they hightail it through the European countryside while pretending to be circus animals. It’s the usual parade of hit-and-miss pop culture ephemera, with the humor depending on throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. Unfortunately, the wall must be coated in teflon, since we’re left with a film that’s just a lot of noise and static, an often frantic, occasionally overbearing picture. Really, if you’ve seen the previous Madagascar films, you know exactly what you’re getting.
Director: Eric Darnell and Conrad Vernon
Writer: Eric Darnell and Noah Baumbach
Producer: Mireille Soria and Mark Swift
Cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric The Entertainer, Andy Richter, Frances McDormand, Bryan Cranston and Martin Short