Movies, Books & Disney+

Review: “Minions” Serves Up Plenty of Laughs But Not Much Heart

Minions opens July 10th, 2015, bringing my favorite characters to the big screen for their own movie. Without Gru and the girls, I didn’t expect to enjoy the film as much as I have the movies Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. My expectations were spot on, but not for the reasons I thought. Minions is hilarious, with a lot of humor throughout. The audience in our theater was laughing constantly. But what is missing is heart, which is where the Despicable Me films excel. However, a new villain played by Sandra Bullock brings some needed edge to Minions.

From the beginning of time, the Minions have been looking for a villain to serve. From dinosaurs to cavemen to Napoleon, the Minions have not been successful at keeping any one master for long.

After all other attempts to secure a villainous boss fail, three Minions – Kevin, Stuart and Bob – set out on a journey to find one. The year is 1968. Some of the biggest laughs in our theater was the journey to Orlando for Villain-Con. Along the way, the three hitchhike, taking a ride from Walter (Michael Keaton) and Madge (Allison Janney – a wonderful actress who seems to be in everything lately), along with their family. This family is also heading to Villain-Con, and the one caveat I have has to do with a bank robbery with no apparent punitive consequences.

Just like in the Despicable Me films, the Minions do not talk much here – just a word here and there that is recognizable. For that reason, it was imperative that humans were brought in to move the story along. Not that the Minions aren’t funny on their own, but not for long movie sequences.

The family with Minions arrive in Orlando, another very funny moment. While I mentioned that I don’t find the film particularly heartfelt, it has a TON of sight gags and I didn’t want to leave the theater for fear of missing any. Minions offers up a fantastic villain in the form of Scarlett Overkill (Bullock), and Kevin, Stuart and Bob think that they finally have someone to serve. Overkill and her husband Herb (Jon Hamm) want to steal the Queen’s Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Having just been in London again last year, it was fun to see how London was shown. And not only does Scarlett want the Crown Jewels, but she has had a desire ever since she was young to be queen. While I don’t usually care who voices characters in films (often I don’t recognize who is speaking unless I look it up), Bullock does a great job with Overkill, bringing a deliciously crazy vibe to the character.

There is second scene in the film that I think is a little much for young viewers – a torture chamber that the Minions end up turning into sort of a playroom. It will be scary for some youngsters. Pair that with mild adult humor including a Minion in a thong and a funny Minion boob scene, and Minions certainly earns its PG.

Pierre Coffin is co-director and does a great job voicing the Minions. The 60s soundtrack is memorable, and stay through the credits – all the characters put in an appearance!

Don’t expect Minions to find room in your head or heart after the film has ended. But enjoy the fun while it is happening, because it is an enjoyable ride (especially after the first 15 or so minutes). If you love the Minions, you should like the film as well.

Mousesteps Grade: B

Genre:                     3D-CG comedy adventure                     

Cast:                        Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan

Directed by:             Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda

Writer:                     Brian Lynch

Produced by:           Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy

Executive Producer: Chris Renaud