If animated films can have breakout characters than the minions are the obvious breakout stars of the Despicable Me films. But, given their lack of distinctive characters or ability to expound at length and be understood, how to create a coherent film around them? Minions avoids the issue entirely by being basically incoherent and with a plot that might politely be called ‘vague’ which means that it comes across as a series of sketches and set-pieces occasionally punctuated by some sight gags. I enjoyed it.
Thankfully it doesn’t outstay its welcome – it’s the ideal kids film length of 90 quick-pace minutes – and nor does it shoehorn in any kind of sentimentality. There is very little here to get the adults laughing when the kids aren’t so we’re not dealing with Lego Movie sophistication but you’d have to be dead inside not to be smiling throughout. It’s nowhere near as good as either Despicable Me but then not much is going to be.
I won’t bother describing the plot but I will say I very much enjoyed the setting of much of the action in an England where the newsreader breaks off for a cup of tea and the Queen is a champion arm wrestler. There’s a decent vocal turn from Sandra Bullock as Scarlet Overkill, the villain to whom the minions would like to attach themselves. And if you don’t like one gag, don’t worry another one will be along inside ten seconds.
All in all, Minions passes the time nicely. But it’s a bit disappointing that that’s the best you can say about it.