A little of “Minions” goes a long way in this animated spin-off of the “Despicable Me” films, with the yellow, pill-shaped, gibberish-spouting sidekicks taking center stage.
The film proves sometimes sidekicks are sidekicks for a reason – these guys are unable to sustain a 90-minute feature film.
“Minions” serves as an origin story for the little yellow creatures, tracing their beginnings way back at the dawn of civilization up to the 1960s, when a trio of minions named Stuart, Bob and Kevin venture out in the world to find a new evil master to follow.
The trio winds up at Villian Con, where they meet the world’s first female super villain, Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock), and her husband Herb (Jon Hamm) and hatch a plan to convince Scarlett to let them be her assistants.
“Minions” will definitely appeal to its target audience – the slapstick humor is right in the wheelhouse for children.
The problem is the film doesn’t have enough to maintain the interest of adults who come along with the kiddies. The minions schtick grows tiresome pretty quick and Bullock and Hamm don’t really gel with the yellow creatures, showing how much Steve Carrell’s Gru is sorely missed.
I enjoyed the minions in the “Despicable Me” films, but found them rather annoying here. There is only so much you can do with these guys, who, unlike “The Penguins of Madagascar,” don’t translate well in larger doses.
“Minions” isn’t a total waste, but it doesn’t have that cross appeal that makes the animated film in wide release, “Inside Out,” so impressive.
It’s strictly kiddie fare.
Also in theaters
The week’s other big release, “The Gallows” (C-), is to the found footage genre what “Minions” is to the animated genre – a film that isn’t fundamentally bad, just one that fades rather quickly.
“The Gallows” begins 20 years ago, when Nebraska high schoolers put on a play that goes horribly wrong – one of the actors is hung as a result of a prop malfunction.
Fast forward to modern day, where for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, the high school decides to do the same play again.
When the male lead in the play, a jock named Reese (Reese Houser), is urged by his friend Ryan (Ryan Shoos) to drop out at the last minute, the two hatch a plan to sneak back into the school and destroy the set, resulting in cancellation of the play.
Reese and Ryan break into the school, along with Ryan’s girlfriend Cassidy (Cassidy Gifford), where they run into the play’s female lead – and Reese’s secret crush – Pfeifer (Pfeifer Ross). They decide to leave the set as is and go home, only to discover they are locked in with someone or something with evil intentions.
“The Gallows” checks in at a brisk 80 minutes, but it still feels about 20 minutes too long.
Directors and writers Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing stage a few moments that work, and give the film a couple of nice twists, but for the most part, there’s nothing here that hasn’t been seen in the million found-footage films before “The Gallows.”
The predictability ultimately dilutes any tension, as the audience waits for the four kids to be picked off by whatever is in the building with them.
Fans of horror films probably won’t be disappointed with “The Gallows,” but they can certainly do better.
“The Gallows” is rated R for some disturbing violent content and terror and is now playing at the Regal Greenwood Mall Stadium 10 and Highland Cinemas in Glasgow.