Minions - Cinema Review

'The film survives its late blunders but only just and only by virtue of having you leave the cinema still giggling at the word 'banana'.'

Minions are funny. There's just no two ways about it: they are. They're pure slapstick, a farcical blend of Chaplain and a potato croquette. They were the comic relief in Despicable Me and its sequel. They're going gangbusters for Universal in the merchandising stakes. This stand alone offering was inevitable.

For Minions to be a success though, the time-honoured questions around whether support can become subject needed to be answered. Can Minions' David Moyes step out of Despicable Me's Alex Ferguson shadow and succeed on its own? Granted, it's not the question that will be on the lips of most of the target audience, but it is nonetheless key to the success of the film.

For around half of the runtime, directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin (who also voices the Minions) manage it. The history of the humble Minion, told in voiceover during the opening, is an hilarious collection of historical blunders, translated to new stupidity when Kevin, Stuart and Bob arrive in the 1960s and promptly lock themselves in a department store. Balda and Coffin do wonderfully to give their central trio individual personalities here, using several building blocks to make sure you care about the three as characters, rather than just the Minion race collectively. It's funny, fast and the introduction of Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock) gives the film a viable alternative to Gru.

Sadly the second half drops off a cliff. Minions moves to London, towing with it a set of Anglophile clich├ęs that haven't been seen as a serious screen offering since those Friends episodes. The slapstick devolves into humourless action and, worse, Balda and Coffin struggle to give their stars support. Herb (Jon Hamm) is the most obvious candidate, but he gets one scene of setup and then dissolves into being wholly anonymous. Notably, during the conclusion, he's silent, literally having nothing more to offer. Things only perk when the rest of the Minion tribe fall back into the narrative, but that feels a long time coming and, even at only forty or so minutes, the second half is an endurance.

The film survives its late blunders but only just and only by virtue of having you leave the cinema still giggling at the word 'banana'. It's a close run thing though and Minions 2 will need much more substance to sustain even the youngest of audiences. The fact that your 'stars' are inherently funny is not enough of a foundation to solely build a ninety minute film upon.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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