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Minions 2, The Rise Of Gru review: ‘Far too many easy gags involving bottoms’

Slapstick can only carry this film so far (Picture: Universal)

Astonishingly, this is the biggest global animated franchise in history – according to its own publicity. Not bad for a cartoon series based around foolish little yellow henchmen (weirdly, they are all men – there are no Smurfettes in this village) jibber-jabbering on about bananas.

Technically, for those who are bothered, The Rise Of Gru is the second spin-off prequel of the Despicable Me movies.

It’s set in a groovily colourful 1970s when Gru (still voiced by Steve Carell) is aged 11¾ and living with his mum (voiced by Julie Andrews). His only friends are Minions, who pick him up from school and help him (mildly) terrorise the neighbourhood.

Gru’s boyhood dream is to join the Vicious Six, a gang of supervillains led by veteran badass Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) and Afro-cool diva Belle Bottom (Taraji P Henson), and supplemented by a voice cast that’s like a cartoon version of The Expendables: there’s Stronghold (Danny Trejo); a levitating nun called Nunchuck (Lucy ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ Lawless); roller-skating Viking Svengeance (Dolph Lundgren); and a lobster-limbed baddie called – wait for it – Jean Clawed (Jean-Claude Van Damme).

As a bonus, they all come with their own brilliant Wacky Races-style vehicles. Instant action figure gift set: ker-ching!

There’s a plot involving a magical zodiac stone that everyone’s chasing but you won’t give two hoots about that. This franchise’s success lies in slapstick, not story, and there’s plenty of excellently animated, laugh-out-loud fun.

Slapstick makes up most of the film (Picture: Illumination Entertainment & Universal Pictures)
Gru is again voiced by Steve Carell (Picture: Illumination Entertainment & Universal Pictures)

There’s still something truly joyful about the Minions: it’s not just their silly, dungaree-pinging antics, it’s their energy, enthusiasm and unconditional devotion.

However, you can’t coast on that for an entire film and even my children’s interest dwindled when a superfluous section has Michelle Yeoh train the Minions in kung fu before the entirely expected Big Hectic Fight climax.

There are also – and this is always a warning sign – far too many easy gags involving bottoms.

And when the Minions start pulling the big puppy-eyed trick à la Puss In Boots from Shrek, you know your franchise is running on borrowed time.

The writers at Illumination need to put in proper brainstorming work if they’re going to raise the creative bar of the inevitable Millions 3 – sorry, Minions 3 – above the level of a cash machine.

Out Friday in cinemas.

 


Credit: Source

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