Minions on a mission for world domination
Life before Gru: searching for a ‘big boss’ to call their own
MINIONS Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda. Featuring Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Geoffrey Rush, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders. Cert G, gen release, 91 min We had our doubts. Could the gravediggers from Hamlet carry their own play? Could The Seven Samurai’s Kikuchiyo or Star Wars’s R2-D2 carry a movie?
Minions, as you will know if you haven’t recently awakened from a five-year coma, are the ill-defined, much-loved critters that enthusiastically serve the Despicable Me franchise’s Gru.
Whenever things are getting a bit emosh between the formerly dastardly Gru and his accidentally adopted girls, the Minions are there to spout gobbledegook, enact pratfalls and generally lay on the comic relief.
Minions, their very own spin-off film, takes this undifferentiated mass of fun and nonsense and successfully channels it into a pleasing movie shape.
A prelude traces the origins of the species, as the yellow organisms evolve from silly, single-celled cheerleaders for nasty underwater predators to silly, jellybean-shaped cheerleaders for the T-Rex.
But by the time the 1960s roll around, the group is bored and without leadership. It falls to heroic Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob to journey across a geographically inaccurate globe to find a “big boss” they can call their own.
Might super-villain Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) be the baddie they seek?
Their ensuing quest takes us to a Hair- inspired New York and then on to England where they encounter a young Queen Elizabeth II (Jennifer Saunders), tea-drinking peelers and retro-future designs that would make the late Gerry Anderson smile.
In keeping with Despicable Me’s French origins, much of the humour is Jacques Tati-inspired, though co-director Pierre Coffin (the voice of all Minions) mines plenty of laughs from fluent gibberish. Who knew the word “papaya” could be so loaded?
We had our doubts. But this may be the best all-ages entertainment since The Lego Movie. THE OVERNIGHT Directed by Patrick Brice. Starring Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche. Club, IFI members, 79mins As The Overnight opens, Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) are failing to orgasm through sex. They opt for mutual masturbation until – oops – their young son bursts through the door to tell them that the room smells funny. The family have lately relocated from Seattle to Los Angeles, where Emily is an unspecified business suit and Alex is a stay-at-home dad.
They seem reasonably pleased, if awkward, when hatted hipster dad Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) approaches them in a playground with an offer of a “play-date”, so that his “discerning” young son might bond with theirs. Mom and dad are welcome to tag along.