A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
If those little yellow creatures from “Despicable Me” and its sequel drove you bananas, you’ll find no respite at “Minions,” the third chapter in the series. Gru and his adopted daughters are nowhere to be found, nor are Pharrell Williams’ catchy songs. Instead, Gru’s loyal sidekicks step into the spotlight, underscored by a '60s era, Beatles-heavy soundtrack that must have cost a fortune in rights. Guided (and voiced) by co-director Pierre Coffin, the minion species earns an origin story that begins in the primordial soup and ends 42 years B.G. (Before Gru). Since “Minions” removes the emotional anchors of this series, one might assume that it is a heartless cash grab perpetrated by the greedy folks at Universal. And your assumption would be wrong, because this movie isn’t heartless.
“Minions” is relentless, however, and in more ways than one. It’s relentless in its depiction of the slapstick-infused shenanigans that will keep the little ones entranced in their seats. Then, sensing the duress that parents were under when their aforementioned crumbsnatchers demanded to see it, the film relentlessly throws every single oldies station pop and rock song it can find at the speakers. “Minions” opens with The Turtles’ “Happy Together,” ends post-credits with The Beatles’ “Revolution” and finds time for a number from “Hair” that threatens to end the way Act 1 of that musical did. If that weren’t enough, the voice talent includes "Mad Men"’s Jon Hamm, "Birdman’"s Michael Keaton and Sandra Bullock as Gru’s villainous precursor, the delectably named Scarlett Overkill.
Before we get to evil Sandy Bullock, our narrator (a droll Geoffrey Rush) takes us through the evolution of the minion. They climbed out of the soup to serve T-Rexes, pharaohs and even Napoleon, who banished them to Antarctica after an unfortunate cannon accident. Fed up with their frigid existence, minion leader Kevin sets out to find a new master for his brethren. He asks for volunteers and gets one-eyed Stuart and goofy runt Bob, who is small even by minion standards.
On their journey, this cute trio occasionally breaks into song, singing in that nonsense mix of Spanish, French, and God knows what else Coffin utters for them. (I understood some of their dialogue, which scared the hell out of me.) Their lack of an identifiable dialect may be one reason “Minions” will do gangbusters overseas. This is a film where dubbing of its main characters will prove unnecessary. This is also why, out of all the “Despicable Me” films, “Minions” is the most suited for the youngest of moviegoers.