What do Shrek (2001), Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) have in common?
Tight, sharp and funny writing. Namely that of the screenwriting team of Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (they also penned the screenplay for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, but I can't speak for that one yet).
Sadly, Shrek the Third (and its predecessor, Shrek 2) doesn’t possess the same talented writing team. I always likened Shrek (2001) to The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (the television series, not the lackluster 2000 film): the animation is crude (read about my overall issues with CG usage in film in my Spider-Man 3 post), but the heart and humor in the writing more than compensated. I thought for sure that Shrek the Third would be somewhat on par with the writing of Shrek because of the screenwritng team of Jeffrey Price and Peter Seaman. After all, they did write a decent little film called Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
I'll conclude with two somewhat-related issues: Don’t get me wrong, I like the gingerbread man (that’s why I purchased the above Happy Meal toy), but elements of his design and performance are strikingly similar to Mr. Bill. Also, the gumdrop button poop sight gag in Shrek the Third is really similar to this You Tube video:
[In case it’s no longer available: Poppin’ Fresh, The Pillsbury Doughboy laughs so hard that he has a croissant-shaped accident.]