Hollywood’s favorite jolly green giant is back, and still with his chartreuse lady love, Fiona. The third Shrek movie finds our oversize hero (voiced by Myers) facing three hurdles to another happily ever after: 1) Fiona (Diaz) is pregnant and Shrek isn’t sure he’s cut out to be a dad; 2) he must track down Fiona’s nerdy teenage cousin Arthur (Timberlake) to take over the throne of the kingdom of Far, Far Away; and 3) the loathsome Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) is busy plotting a palace takeover.
If this latest chapter falls an ogre’s shadow short of the mark set by the previous Shreks, Third is ceaselessly clever, giddily trading on pop culture references and taking digs at classic Disney cartoon figures (Sleeping Beauty keeps dozing off). But the formula no longer surprises, so when the plot hits a slow patch (Shrek’s quest for Arthur), it’s possible for viewers to drift far, far away. Happily, there’s a humdinger of a finish and a cute coda showing Shrek and Fiona parenting bouncing little Shreklets. Maybe that’s the perfect note on which to let this ogre and his ogress retire to their musty swamp for good.
The Wendell Baker Story
Luke Wilson, Eva Mendes, Owen Wilson PG-13 | [2 stars]
When does freewheeling cross over into self-indulgent? It’s a question Wendell Baker viewers may find themselves pondering as this oddball tale lopes along. Luke Wilson—who wrote and codirected with his oldest brother, Andrew—plays Wendell Baker, a happy-go-lucky hustler who, after a stint in jail, tries to go straight. Hoping to win back his sweetie (Mendes), he lands a job at a retirement home, where he helps the elderly residents expose a dastardly head nurse (middle brother Owen). In its very loopiness, Baker does boast a certain shaggy charm.