I don’t know, doesn’t the fact that this innocuous, by-the-numbers time filler, is going to outgross “Inside Out” worldwide, give you a little bit of pause? Hey, “Minions” is an okay way for a Daddy and his 7-year-old to escape the oppressive heat on a July afternoon, but is this anything other than an expensive way to sell cute yellow toys via its relationship to an established mediocrity of a franchise? This spinoff has hopefully burned off all of the good will, because will audiences actually be clamoring for a “Minions 2”? The series has shot its bolt, right? Maybe not. After all, “Despicable Me”, the 2010 original “birthplace” of these little yellow jibber-jabbers, garnered over a half billion dollars. 2013’s “Despicable Me 2” almost doubled that take. And on its current trajectory, “Minions” is poised to climb to even loftier financial heights. It’s not a bad movie, if you don’t expect too much (I didn’t). It’s simply a cute, somewhat-labored, summer product, that you might be able to squeeze a pretty good time out of. Then again, some of you may have to squeeze hard.
Plot? Oh, c’mon. Some kind of nonsense about the history of the minions, that deposits them in a variety of mildly amusing set pieces, over the course of world history. There is a pretty impressive opening scene (greatly enhanced by 3D), that shows the minions encountering dinosaurs. My little guy really enjoyed that part–and I got a pretty good kick out of it too. Before you know it, it’s 1968, and we’re milking as much mileage as possible, out of the well-worn (yet reliable),peace/love generation standbys. However, for every adult-aimed Beatles reference, or Richard Nixon sight gag, you’ll have to endure about 15 minutes of those diminutive drones in denim overalls, babbling nonsense and taking pratfalls. And you can stick in as many A-list celebrity voices as you want, but that still can’t anoint this feature with the prestige of Pixar’s big 2015 tentpole. So, overact all you want, Sandra Bullock and Michael Keaton, I realize your checks have already been cashed. The movie all wraps up fine though. There’s a pleasing surprise cameo in the 3rd act. Plus, hearing Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” over the end credits is surprisingly cathartic. So, “Minions” partially delivers.