Friday, July 10, 2015


When I learned of a Despicable Me sequel starring only the Minions I was skeptical. Although hugely popular, how do you give a full-feature film to the oddball supporting characters who speak only a mishmash gibberish language and who had been used mostly for comedy relief (with heart) in both Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2?

Minions is a throwback of sorts to a type of comedy Hollywood has largely gotten away from in favor of character and plot-driven plots. The result is something that has at least as much in common with Airplane!, Austin Powers, or The Cannonball Run as it does either of the previous two films. Although the script has a basic plot involving the Minions search for a new super-villain to serve, its purpose is largely secondary to allow the characters room to thrive while setting up various sequences, gags, and stunts involving everything from the Minions putting on a full Broadway-style performance for yetis to a slew of 60's pop-culture references.

After a brief introduction from our unseen narrator (Geoffrey Rush) explaining the history of the Minions, the film opens with three of the characters voiced by Pierre Coffin (Kevin, Stuart, and Bob) setting out to find the tribe a new villain to serve. In a lucky coincidence (one of many on which the plot relies) the threesome learn of Villains Con where they meet the world's #1 villain Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock) and her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm) who, despite her volatile nature, does develop a soft spot for the Minions.

One of the best choices the script makes it to separate three of the Minions for the main storyline allowing us to get to know the brave Kevin, the guitar-obsessed Stuart, and the lovable Bob far better than we ever could if they only presented as part of the pack. And despite speaking in nonsensical sentences for the entire film you have no trouble understanding the differences between the three or the message and/or emotion they need to conveying in any particular scene. Those hoping for crazy sequences featuring an entire screen full of Minions shouldn't despair, however, as the film offers plenty of those to go around (including extra scenes during the credits which are worth staying for).

While it lacks the emotional arcs found in the previous two films, directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin know exactly what kind of film they are setting out to make and take care to turn the limitations of the Minions into strengths by creating an old-school screwball comedy built on top of 60s British nostalgia (where and when the film takes place). It's fluff, but it's entertaining fluff. The result may not be must-see, but Minions is the type of movie that you could easily find on television and, at any time during its 91-minute running time, sit down and enjoy the fun for as long as you would like.

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