Everybody’s favorite part of the “Despicable Me” movies is the Minions. Oh sure, Gru and the girls are the sweet, emotional center; but the yellow, goggled mischief-makers give the movies an anarchic zing of inspiration.
Therefore, the only logical thing to do is to give them their own movie. “Minions” tells the origin story of these dutiful henchmen and their mission since the dawn of time to serve the biggest, baddest villain nature can produce.
While “Minions” may lack a lot of the heartwarming depth of its predecessors, this goofy little movie is still a whole lot of fun.
After kicking around the globe for several millennia achieving various degrees of success, the tribe of Minions spend a few hundred years in hiding. With no bad guy to serve, our heroes find themselves living drab, meaningless lives.
This is when a particularly intrepid Minion named Kevin, along with his pals Stu and Bob, venture out into the world in search of a truly despicable villain to serve.
They emerge in 1968 and, after a long journey (that includes a road trip with the slightly demented Nelson family, where Michael Keaton and Allison Janney lend their voices to Mr. and Mrs. Nelson, respectively), the boys find themselves in the employ of Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock).
Scarlett has her sights set on London and she, along with her groovy, inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm), have some big plans for Great Britain. Naturally, Kevin, Stu, and Bob find themselves right in the middle of all of it.
The Minions are always a good time no matter where they wind up, but the setting for their own movie is particularly inspired. Co-directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin (who also provides the Esperanto-spouting voices of the Minions) have a keen sense of time and place, which gives the Minions a solid anchor that keeps the proceedings from getting too out of hand.
It also gives them the excuse to make good use of a pretty rockin’ soundtrack and some era-specific gags (A lava-lamp gun! Get out!).
“Minions” is a straight-up crowd-pleaser and reminded me an awful lot of another quality movie featuring scene-stealers from another franchise, “Penguins of Madagascar.” They both hit that comedic sweet spot that appeals to both parents and kids for the exact same reasons.
It’s a little unclear where this “Despicable/Minions” franchise goes from here, but after three quality entries (and almost certain box-office domination), you can bet we haven’t seen the end of our little yellow buddies. I’m good with that.
“Minions” is rated PG for action and rude humor.