The fourth and presumed final installment (or at least that's how it's being marketed) of the 'Shrek' films, 'Shrek Forever After' revisits the beloved ogre as he is going through a sort of midlife crisis.

Overwhelmed by the chaotic routine of everyday living, Shrek (Mike Myers) is sick of being a family man and yearns to return to his role of the not-so-gentle green giant. He also finds the daily visits from a tour bus an infuriating nuisance. After a small quarrel with wife Fiona (Cameron Diaz) at their children's birthday bash, Shrek meets the sneaky Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn), a wish-granting malcontent who wants to take over Far, Far Away kingdom. Soon the evildoer and his creepy, sharp-toothed goose trick Shrek into granting a wish that would regrettably flip the world he knows upside down, with Rumpelstiltskin atop the throne and Shrek left Fiona-less.

The overall critical consensus on 'Shrek Forever After' seems to be somewhat middling: All agree the franchise has somewhat lost its visual luster and unfortunately run out of steam. Josh Bell of the Las Vegas Weekly calls the film "decidedly pointless." However, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly feels like the creative team behind the film, along with its actors, perform "adequately" enough.

Read what the critics have to say: The fourth and presumed final installment (or at least that's how it's being marketed) of the 'Shrek' films, 'Shrek Forever After' revisits the beloved ogre as he is going through a sort of midlife crisis.

Overwhelmed by the chaotic routine of everyday living, Shrek (Mike Myers) is sick of being a family man and yearns to return to his role of the not-so-gentle green giant. He also finds the daily visits from a tour bus an infuriating nuisance. After a small quarrel with wife Fiona (Cameron Diaz) at their children's birthday bash, Shrek meets the sneaky Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn), a wish-granting malcontent who wants to take over Far, Far Away kingdom. Soon the evildoer and his creepy, sharp-toothed goose trick Shrek into granting a wish that would regrettably flip the world he knows upside down, with Rumpelstiltskin atop the throne and Shrek left Fiona-less.

The overall critical consensus on 'Shrek Forever After' seems to be somewhat middling: All agree the franchise has somewhat lost its visual luster and unfortunately run out of steam. Josh Bell of the Las Vegas Weekly calls the film "decidedly pointless." However, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly feels like the creative team behind the film, along with its actors, perform "adequately" enough.

Here's what the critics have to say:

The Hollywood Reporter: "You know that a film franchise is beginning to tire when its central character is in the throes of a midlife crisis. Such is the case with the lovable ogre in 'Shrek Forever After,' the fourth and promised final film in the animated series that has proven a moneymaking machine in its last three incarnations. Receiving its world premiere as the opening-night film at the Tribeca Film Festival, this installment should prove equally lucrative -- especially considering the extra coin that 3D and IMAX bring to the table -- but it also reveals a definite been-there, done-that feeling."

Village Voice: " It takes the film a deadly long time to kick in, and when it does, it largely retreads formula: ironic use of pop standards, musical numbers with contemporary choreography played for maximum laughs, risque one-liners. By the middle of the second act, 'Forever After' finally finds its groove, becoming mildly amusing (the actors -- Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas -- are in fine form) but never rising to the inspired heights of the original. And the 3-D effects are so weak as to bring nothing to the table."

Entertainment Weekly: "There's a soft, middle-aged complacency to the well-oiled mechanics of 'Shrek Forever After,' the fourth and (possibly but never say never) last episode of the now classic spoofy animated fairy tale based on William Steig's beloved 1990 children's book. The plump green princess bride Fiona (Cameron Diaz) is back, as are Shrek's motormouthed buddy Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and the suave feline Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas). But what was once a fresh, self-referential twist on the vulturish consumption of pop culture when the first 'Shrek' debuted in 2001 has become a lazy corporate tic ... Everyone involved fulfills his or her job requirements adequately."

San Francisco Chronicle: "An attempt an injecting some novelty with the Rumpelstiltskin character also falls flat: He's tiny but hugely obnoxious. It's one thing to have an over-the-top villain if he's a compelling, well-developed figure. This guy is just off-putting. The only thing that changes about him are the wigs he wears for various occasions. Thankfully, Antonio Banderas returns to voice the swashbuckling Puss in Boots -- only in Shrek's weird new world, the kitty has gotten so lazy and overfed as Fiona's pampered pet, he can't even buckle his own belt. Still, Puss remains the most consistent source of comedy in the 'Shrek' series. Here's hoping that when the character gets his own movie spin-off, he'll be able to stand on his own two paws without the needless aid of a third dimension."


Las Vegas Weekly: "'Forever After' isn't as jumbled and irritating as 2007's 'Shrek the Third,' but it's still decidedly pointless, a story that starts and ends in pretty much the same place and doesn't do much interesting in between. Clearly out of ideas for what to do with Shrek and his pals, the filmmakers go all 'It's a Wonderful Life' on Shrek and whisk him away to a world in which he was never born, so that he has to re-do a bunch of stuff he already did in the first movie, including wooing Fiona (now a badass ogre warrior) and befriending the annoying Donkey (Eddie Murphy)."

Slant Magazine
: "The tale's overriding message about learning to view parenthood as a blessing rather than a curse seems targeted at those adults unhappy about having to accompany their kids to yet another 'Shrek' film, and the sweetly juvenile humor feels more tepid and staid than ever, albeit mercifully free of the usual fart and poop gags. While its prime conceit offers little insight into, or development of, its main characters or their relationships (as well as doesn't flirt with the 'Shrek' saga's typical inversion of Disney animation's outer beauty = inner beauty paradigm), at least the devilish Rumpelstiltskin delivers some unique manic-twerp energy to the otherwise ho-hum proceedings. 'Shrek Forever After' isn't offensive, just innocuous and unnecessary, a supposed final chapter to a series that should have ended two installments ago."

Time Out New York: "Such a sideways move toward maturity might be applaudable if the rest of the film weren't just desperately beating a dead cash cow. Third times are rarely charms in the movies, much less fourth go-rounds, and it takes more than ho-hum 3-D and video-game-ready action sequences to liven up diminishing returns. When a chubby tabby is given the best lines, alienating the 12-and-under set with midlife crises might be the least of your problems."
CATEGORIES Reviews