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'Shrek the Third'

Third time's the charm for the jolly green ogre — but only in the "charm school" sense, alas. Shrek's searching for a new king to rule the kingdom of Far Far Away in this installment, but he's been so domesticated that he's not much of an ogre anymore. He's sensitive, thoughtful, a father-in-training — and waaaay too cuddly. Donkey's been nipping at the treacle too; he might as well be Eeyore's cousin. Of course, with Shrek 2 nearly doubling the first film's box-office take (and merchandising adding billions to the bottom line), no one's going to stop making Shrek flicks just because the inspiration's faded. With a TV special on the way (Shrek the Halls) as well as a Broadway tuner (Shrek: The Musical), resistance is probably futile for anyone with kids or grandkids. But apart from some modestly amusing princess shtick and a pleasantly slapsticky opening, there's no real reason for anyone over the age of 11 to see this one.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.