'Minions' review: Sidekicks become the stars in this silly sequel
The minions — those roly-poly, slapstick-y, bright yellow Euro-gabbling sidekicks — stole the first two "Despicable Me" movies with their nonsensical singing, pratfalls and good-natured acceptance of their role in life: to aid and enable the truly evil, always with a smile on their flat little faces.
"Minions," the new movie, tests the notion that what audiences enjoyed as a side dish can satisfy as an entrée; I don't know if the movie picks up as it goes along, or if it merely beat me into submission, but after an initially slack 20 minutes or so, I did finally start laughing. It helps that, once the story moves into a world we recognize (albeit the world of 1968), screenwriter Brian Lynch ("Hop") and directors Kyle Balda ("The Lorax") and Pierre Coffin ("Despicable Me") can riff on wonderfully absurd gags about everything from time travel to killer clowns to the musical "Hair."
Decades of self-imposed exile leave them dispirited until Kevin, the taller one, decides to explore the world to find a new Big Bad for the minions to follow; the only volunteers to join him are guitar-playing, one-eyed Stuart and bouncy young Bob. (All the minions are voiced by Coffin.) They arrive in New York, where they're enchanted by tie-dye and TV — strangely, despite their ongoing obsessions with bananas, none of them picks up a copy of The Velvet Underground's debut album — and they tune into a secret bad-guy network promoting the upcoming Villain-Con in Orlando.
If you're coming to "Minions" expecting much in the way of plot, or even distinguishing characteristics among the title characters, you're in the wrong movie. But if you're tickled by the idea of a London police-car chase where all the bobbies in the passenger side are pouring tea into China cups, or an elaborate bit of physical comedy involving running from a bee on a chandelier that's being screwed and unscrewed (depending on the direction that people are running), you may find yourself succumbing to the silliness.