‘Minions’ get to star, and they make a mess of it

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‘Minions’ get to star, and they make a mess of it

Sidekicks rarely shine when thrust into the spotlight, but what about a few hundred of them?

The Minions, having been the best part of the last two “Despicable Me’’ movies, have swarmed the screen in “Minions.’’ As candidates for the center stage, they are seemingly ill-suited. Slavishly - if rarely competently - devoted lackeys, they’re underlings by both definition and verticality.

They don’t speak intelligibly, which, to be fair, isn’t a bar all of Hollywood’s leading men reach. Instead, they talk in a bright babble that belies their fondness for colorful phonetics. “Banana’’ and “Poopaye’’ are their kind of words.

Their unsuitability for the lead role, or just about anything else, comprises much of the fun in “Minions,’’ a happy henchmen overload that largely succeeds in its simple mission: more Minions!

Directed by Pierre Coffin (who co-directed both “Despicable Me’’ films and voices the Minions) and Kyle Balda, “Minions’’ begins in fine form. The little yellow ones are already humming the Universal theme as the film begins.

With Geoffrey Rush narrating, we get the history of the Minions, which stretches back across eons and begins with them - a curious early mammal - literally walking out of the sea.

But the evolution stops there. For thousands of years, we see, they’ve been letting down their evil masters, from a Tyrannosaurus Rex accidentally tipped into a volcano, to Dracula, whom they excitedly wake with a birthday cake and wide-open blinds.

The Minions have their own Ice Age however, ending up leaderless in Antarctica. After a few hundred years, the joy of snowball fights beginning to dim, three of them - Kevin, Bob and Stuart - set out on a quest to find a new supervillain to idolize.

Soon, they’re on their way to Villain-Con, a riff on Comic-Con, a convention celebrating the likes of Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), an evil world-conqueror in a beehive. The trio inadvertently win a job in Overkill’s entourage, and they’re soon entrenched in her plan to take the British throne.

What are the Minions but stand-ins for kids? Mumbling half-understood words by the mouthful, they plunge headlong into any task, usually wielding dangerous objects they should not. Coming on the heels of Pixar’s “Inside Out,’’ an emotional wallop that knocks out misty-eyed adults, “Minions’’ is a different beast. This one’s for the kids. The film opens in Korea on July 30. AP
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