The Madagascar series has been one of those strange anomalies that cheekily defies the law of diminishing returns to just get better and better.
This third effort comfortably trumps previous outings, helped by the fact that we already know genial lion Alex (Stiller), smartass zebra Marty (Rock), funky hippo Gloria (Pinkett Smith) and dim bulb giraffe Melman (Schwimmer).
However, the question most anklebiting fans will be asking is "Where are the penguins?". Well, if you must know, they've deserted Alex and co and are - with the help of the chimps - scamming the casinos in Monte Carlo.
Overcome by homesickness for New York, Alex and the rest of the Zoosters join them in en route west in Monaco where they lock horns with vicious animal control officer DuBois (McDormand), a psycho-collision between the Terminator and a tracker dog.
Fleeing the Riviera, the gang hook up with the travelling Circus Zaragosa, a shambling Italian outfit ruled over by the prickly Vitaly (Cranston), a Serbian tiger who's lost his mojo and resents the sunny presence of the Zoosters.
However, if both parties are going to survive and the Zoosters get back to the Big Apple, they've got to bury their differences and make the careworn travelling show work.
This manages the perfect balance between day-glo action, likeable characters and a witty script that's not short on adult-pleasing quips.
As ever, the penguins - a Sgt Bilko-style outfit - steal the show but their scene-stealing is rivalled by the sheer spectacle of the setpieces, particularly a vertigo-inducing chase through the streets of Monaco and a closing big top performance to rival the razzle-dazzle of Cirque de Soleil.
It's a riotous circus you'd happily run away to.