A couple of chuckles, that’s about all I got out of Minions, a spin-off from the animated Despicable Me franchise telling the origin story of the gibbering little yellow pills that are only happy when they’re at the command of an evil villain. At 30 minutes it feels as if you’ve watched two hours as these little fellas that served as satisfying comic relief in the Despicable Me films just aren’t interesting enough for their own feature film.
It’s not as if the filmmakers are entirely unaware of this fact as screenwriter Brian Lynch (Hop, The Secret Life of Pets) and directors Kyle Balda (The Lorax) and Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2) realize this can’t be a film filled with chatter no one can understand (though it sounds like the Minions speak a mixture of gibberish, Spanish, French and Italian) and some actual human characters are necessary. Therefore, following an overlong introduction to how the Minions have made their way through prehistoric times to the point they now live in an icy cave, three of them venture out in search of a new boss.
Their journey eventually leads them to a secret convention for villains where they set their sights on Scarlett Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock), the most villainous villain of them all. Eventually they come to serve their new master and agree to help her steal the Crown jewels, things happen, such as this, that and the other thing and 90 minutes later the credits roll. Get me outta here!
I have no doubt some audiences, beyond just the children, will enjoy this movie. My audience actually clapped during the movie after some ridiculous musical sequence and then again at the end. What are you clapping for? Had this been 20-30 minutes I could understand the clapping, but at 91 minutes this is a recipe for boredom. Kids will undoubtedly giggle at the nonsensical Minion speak and their silly antics, but I can’t look at this as anything more than a childish distraction of noise and bright colors to keep the kiddos entertained while their parents kick up their feet before having to prepare dinner.
For anyone that actually cares, Jon Hamm voices Scarlett’s inventor husband Herb Overkill and Michael Keaton (whom I never recognized) and Allison Janney voice Walter and Madge Nelson, a villainous couple the Minions hitch a ride with to Villain Con. A couple of familiar voices from the Despicable Me films also make an appearance as Steve Coogan voices Professor Flux and Steve Carell pops in for a second as a young Gru.
Overall, go see it if you like. Take your kids and get a little shut-eye. I don’t know, after about ten minutes I realized I probably should have just stayed home, after 30 it was all I could do not to leave.