“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” is maddeningly funny. You actually laugh all the way through the film. The adult humor is laughingly mixed with the children’s humor; it may fly above the kids’ heads, but not the adults’.

“Madagascar 3” is the third installment of the billion-dollar “Madagascar” franchise, starring Ben Stiller as Alex the lion, Chris Rock as Marty the Zebra, Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria the hippo and David Schwimmer as Melman the giraffe.

The gang has had it; they want out of Africa, and they want to go back to New York to the safe confines of the New York Zoo, but how? The daringly brilliant penguins and the mischievous chimps have run away with the money and their only means of transportation. The runaways’ destination: Monte Carlo.

No doubt under the penguin’s direction the chimps will break the bank at Monte Carlo, giving them all enough cash to get back to New York. With that reasoning in mind the adventure begins, but not without big trouble, namely French animal control officer Capitaine Chantel Dubois, played by Frances McDormand. As you can guess, our animal crew made a mess of Monte Carlo, the casino and all, but that’s not why she’s hot on their trail.

Thanks to the capitaine, they are Europe’s most wanted. And even though she is out of her jurisdiction, and apparently out of her mind, she stops at nothing to apprehend them. But how can a bunch of animals escape through Europe to get back to America? Well, hold on to your imaginations, we’re talking the circus! The enterprising penguin’s and crafty chimps cut a deal with a down-and-out European circus and, just like that, they own a circus full of animals.

You’re probably wondering how the penguins and chimps come up with these brilliant and successful plans. Let’s just say they have royalty on their side.

Our Zoosters, those animals from the New York Zoo, have to convince the circus animals that they were once part of a circus. Not convinced, Alex had to tell them there is such a thing as a circus with no animals, and they could become the circus with no people.

For the first time in 3-D, the Zoosters of Madagascar are on the run, hiding out with the circus, doing death-defying tricks and making new friends.

The decision to make ” Madagascar 3″ in 3-D was a logical decision, according to Director/Writer Eric Darnell. “We realized, stylistically, we were already making 3-D movies,” Damell said.

“Because of the films’ comedic tone, we were often doing things that put stuff out in front of the camera. Once we recognized that our cinematography and our comedy really lent themselves beautifully to the 3-D world, we really didn’t have to change much of what we were doing. But taking our animals into a circus automatically gives us these wonderful opportunities–We’re moving not just across the surface of the earth; we’re moving up in the air, flipping, rolling and flying–to work in 3-D of course.”

“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” is a visual delight, but it also tells a great story. Each animal from the Zoosters to the circus animals have their own story and some emotional or physical challenge they each have to overcome in order to save the circus and save each other.

There’s Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), a bitter, irritable and depressed tiger who used to be the main attraction of the circus, but an accident left him hating and fearing his own act. Then there is the lovable, Stefano (Martin Short) who in his own goofy way pulls the whole team together. All in all great life lessons for kids, teens and adults.

Get your laugh on with “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” in theaters Friday.

Gail can be reached at gail@hollywoodbychoice.com0