Minions on a mis­sion for world dom­i­na­tion

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY

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.

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