Winning the box office its first weekend out, this third installment of the series starring Shrek (Mike Meyers) the ogre who lives in the forest and finally found true love when he was forced to capture the Princess Fiona (Carmen Diaz), has much of the sweetness and cuteness of the first two. In this episode, as the Frog King is departing, he tells Shrek that he and Fiona must take his place.
Shrek has already proved himself a klutz in kingship and when the dying dad mentions a distant cousin named Arthur, Shrek decides to go for it. As the ship is leaving he learned that Fiona is pregnant. His trip is filled with nightmares of baby ogres running amok.
Prince Charming is his usual adorable self as he goads Captain Hook, the Wicked Witch and other villains to join him in overthrowing King Shrek to get their just rewards.
Arthur, or Artie (Justin Timberlake), as he likes being called, is a geeky kid with absolutely no self esteem. But Shrek, Puss, and Donkey instill him with courage as they meet up with a crotchety old Merlin and hurry to save Fiona and the Queen Mother (Julie Andrews).
The women already have plans of their own when they realize that Charming is behind everything. Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Fiona and Queen Mom team up to defeat the rats but soon become prisoners themselves and learn that Charming plans to kill Shriek so he can take the kingdom.
An imprisoned Shrek can do very little to help himself until Artie gets up his courage and gathers the troops to defend and of course, conquer as Charming gets tied up in knots and the witches and other villains decide to switch sides and vow loyalty to Arthur.
Since we already are familiar with most of the jokes from the prior two films the Gingerbread cookie man, Wolf and the piglets and the antics of Puss In Boots (Antonio Balderas) and the Donkey (Eddie Murphy) one didn't laugh as much when bodies were changed or Fiona received a baby shower from the fairy tale princesses and was given Rumplestilskin as a nanny.
Several of the jokes were meant for adult ears more than the kids. The characters talk about getting high in the 70's and the Gingerbread man poops when he is scared, as well as other toilet humor that was not needed and which comedians often resort to when desperate for material.
Most of the plot lines were predictable not that the first one didn't have its moments of predictability, but with the fresh characters we were able to see it in a different light. Now there is little about Shrek that remains novel.
It all ends happy ever after, of course.
According to my tween daughter, 'I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. The first two were much better.' That I think sums it up.
Will there be a fourth Shriek? Only the box office can tell.