Minions

Few sidekicks in animated films have emerged as popular as the Minions. Those pill-shaped, goggle-wearing yellow critters were all the rage in the Despicable Me movies, and now they’ve got their own self-titled stand-alone adventure.

A terrific prologue reveals that the Minions have been around since the dawn of time, eagerly volunteering allegiance to the most despicable masters they could find – dinosaurs, Egyptian pharaohs, Napoleon – but accidentally killing each of them. By the 1960s, the little fellas are bored and without leadership. It’s up to three brave Minions – Kevin, Stuart and Bob – to leave their home in Antarctica and to go out and find an evil master that they can call ‘boss’.
 
Their search takes them to New York, and then to Orlando where the trio is hired by female super-villain Scarlet Overkill (a one-note Sandra Bullock), who flies them to London to steal the Queen of England’s crown.
 
The plot’s serviceable at best, never as smart as a Pixar offering, or even a Despicable Me film. But it’s consistently goofy, and coasts along on the strength of its frenetic action and slapstick humor. Directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin recognize that it’s these banana-loving, gibberish-spouting Minions themselves that are the biggest draw of this film, and they mine laughs from their nonsensical singing and childish shenanigans.
 
It’s impossible not to be giggling at the sheer daftness of these dungaree-sporting heroes, my favorite of whom was Bob, the teddy bear-clutching, rat-befriending Minion. Another highlight was the appearance of a beloved character that shows up in the end for a brief cameo.
 
Minions has very little to offer by way of inventive story, but 90 minutes go by quickly in the company of these bumbling scene-stealers. I’m going with three out of five. Kids will love every moment of this cheerfully silly outing.

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