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'Madagascar 3': Going through the motions

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo


The Penguins of Madagascar is one of the few TV shows that's better than the movies it's spun off from. That's probably why the third outing in this increasingly tiresome animated franchise gives the aquatic flightless birds — along with their lemur and monkey co-stars, all originally supporting characters — more screen time.

The focus is still on the main quartet of animals (voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith), still trying to find their way home to America and now traipsing across Europe as part of a traveling circus. But the movie only comes to life when the action shifts away from them. The plot and gags are basically variations on those found in the other two movies, with European landmarks standing in for the African plains and New York City streets. The few moments of inspiration and absurdity are, as Alex the lion tells the circus animals, just going through the motions. Good thing we have the supporting crew.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)

Dir. Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon; writ. Eric Darnell, Noah Baumbach; feat. the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen (PG)

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