I sit here at my computer, wondering what the hell I can say about Minions. My fingers itch to type something so I can get this review done with and start giving the Despicable Me prequel all the thought it really deserves–which is to say, very little–but my mind just keeps cycling through an endless array of shrug gifs.
Here’s the thing about Minions: It’s funny?
No. No question mark. It is funny. It is sometimes funny. There are moments when it elicited a chuckle. Annnnnd… cue shrug gif.
Shrug gif is what I suspect screenwriter Brian Lynch thought about all the non-joke parts of this movie. Minions has wall to wall gags, but aside from that, there’s not much there. The basic story is that three adorable minions–Kevin, Bob, and Stuart, star of post-memes everywhere–go out into the world to hunt for a “big boss” their kind can devote their service to. After landing in New York, their journey takes them to Orlando’s VillainCon, where they meet Scarlett Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock), “the world’s first female supervillain.” Their partnership yields shenanigans. There’s a funny moon landing joke. Jon Hamm hams it up as Hugh Overkill, Scarlett’s husband and the Q to her evil James Bond. Things happen. There’s a plot.
“It’s funny!” is a pretty good thing to say about a movie that is, after all, a comedy. I second the astute title that a friend of mine came up with: Minions Doesn’t Suck! Unfortunately, minions, while cute in small doses, just don’t have enough to them to carry a whole movie. There’s no character development, because they’re basically characters at all times. They’re waddling one-note jokes. They want to serve bad guys, but they’re kind of bumbling idiots about it. They’re cute but well-meaning. Yawwwwwwn.
The kids in my audience enjoyed this, and there were specific jokes and exchanges that I got a kick out of, but taken as a whole adults are likely to find Minions more boring than anything else. Pixar it ain’t. And, unlike Penguins of Madagascar, a better–if still not wonderful–kid’s movie featuring the breakout stars of an established animation franchise, Minions did not have nearly enough puns.