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Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON STAGE -

Cer­tifi­cate U Voices of San­dra Bul­lock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Al­li­son Jan­ney, Michael Beat­tie, Katy Mixon, Jen­nifer Saun­ders, Steve Coogan

Ns­mall doses, De­spi­ca­ble Me’s gog­gle-eyed henchcrea­tures are a de­ranged de­light.

As un­wit­ting he­roes of their own big-screen ad­ven­ture, these pint-sized “knights in shin­ing denim” lose some of their loopy lus­tre, hin­dered by Brian Lynch’s flimsy script, which is dis­ap­point­ingly light on sto­ry­line and belly laughs.

A daz­zling vo­cal cast of gifted comic ac­tors is re­peat­edly short­changed.

Very young chil­dren, who gur­gle with glee at the Minions’ bonkers ver­nac­u­lar com­bin­ing Esperanto and goobledy­gook, will adore the slap­stick, prat­falls and the tini­est mem­ber of the Minions clan, Bob, who clutches a well-loved teddy bear called Tim.

Adults will be con­sid­er­ably harder to win over.

The lack of a co­her­ent sto­ry­line grates as much as the lazy cul­tural stereo­typ­ing of the Bri­tish as tea-sip­ping, corgi-rid­ing folk, who fre­quent pubs called The Pig’s Spleen.

Since the dawn of time, Minions have grav­i­tated to­wards de­spi­ca­ble mas­ters in­clud­ing Tyran­nosaurus Rex, Count Drac­ula and Napoleon.

Un­for­tu­nately, these mas­ters die pre­ma­turely – at the hands of the clumsy, yel­low hench-crea­tures – leav­ing the Minions in a state of deep de­pres­sion.

One brave soul named Kevin steps forth to find an evil boss for his bald, jaun­diced brethren.

Flanked by Stu­art and scaredy-cat Bob, Kevin leaves the Minions’ ice cave re­treat bound for 1968 New York City.

Cue a Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon bill­board pro­claim­ing: “Fi­nally: a name you can trust”.

Could the Minions have stum­bled upon their arch-vil­lain?

No. The plucky trio learns about a gath­er­ing of crim­i­nals in Or­lando and hitches a ride to the con­ven­tion with a bank-rob­bing fam­ily led by Wal­ter Nel­son (voiced by Michael Keaton) and wife Madge (Al­li­son Jan­ney).

Their daugh­ter Tina (Katy Mixon) points the Minions in the di­rec­tion of bouf­fant su­per-vil­lain Scar­let Overkill (San­dra Bul­lock).

“If I was a min­ion, that’s who I’d want to work for,” she swoons.

Thus the trio pledges al­le­giance to Scar­let and her in­ven­tor hus­band Herb (Jon Hamm), who are plot­ting to steal the Crown Jewels from Queen El­iz­a­beth II (Jen­nifer Saun­ders).

While the sound­track swings its flares to The Kinks and The Who, Kevin, Stu­art and Bob ca­reen around Lon­don armed with Herb’s nifty gad­gets: a robo-suit, lava lamp gun and hypno-hat.

Minions has a sprin­kling of gig­gles and doesn’t out­stay its welcome, but there’s an un­shake­able feel­ing that Pierre Cof­fin and Kyle Balda’s film falls short.

The groovy time pe­riod should be a vel­vet gold­mine of vis­ual gags, but the best the film can muster is a nod to The Bea­tles and a faked moon land­ing.

The 3D ver­sion doesn’t ex­ploit the eye-pop­ping for­mat, so par­ents with tykes in tow should save their money for the in­evitable raid on the con­ces­sions stand.

An­i­ma­tion is colour­ful and pris­tine, opt­ing for shiny sur­faces and sharp an­gles that re­duce the need for metic­u­lous de­tail and re­al­ism.

De­spi­ca­ble? Meh.

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