Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) movie review

Now that the much older Wild Knuckles are out of the picture, The Vicious 6 – I mean Five – are looking for a much younger replacement. Gru applies for the position and receives an answer housed in a self-destructing 8-track tape. He enters the record store that secretly houses Belle Bottom’s lair, thus meeting his future colleague, Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand). Nefario gives Gru a 45 of Linda Ronstadt’s cover of “You’re No Good”, the key to entering the secret hideout. As he is barely out of middle school, Gru is fired, but not before stealing the Zodiac Stones. Belle and her crew pursue him in order to retrieve them.

Believe it or not, there are two more intriguing stories in “Minions: The Rise of Gru”. One is about the San Francisco-based Wild Knuckles’ quest for revenge, and the other involves the Minions learning kung fu from Master Chow (Michelle Yeoh) in order to save Gru after he’s been kidnapped. Well, these two genres go together; Gru was taken by Wild Knuckles in an effort to reclaim what is rightfully his. Unbeknownst to Mr. Knuckles, Otto, the newest and most talkative of the Minions, has traded the jewels for a pet rock. As punishment, Gru is subjected to a type of torture that I would gladly endure: he is strapped to a giant record player that will play, for 48 hours straight, the greatest disco song ever recorded, “More More More” by Andrea True Connection.

“Don’t call my mom for ransom,” Gru begs, “she’ll probably pay you to keep me.” Gru’s mean old mom is once again played by Julie Andrews, who usually doesn’t need her son or his henchmen. The Vicious 6 show up anyway to extract a pound of flesh from him. Watching “The Sound of Music” star get his ass kicked by a nun is my kind of meta! It’s a way to solve a problem like Maria, I tell you!

As with “Minions”, “Minions: The Rise of Gru” moves at breakneck speed. This time, however, it’s a little less grueling and it works to the film’s advantage. The laughs are well paced and the viewer doesn’t have too much time to ponder the ridiculousness of Matthew Fogel’s script. The animation is striking, from the beautifully rendered Chinatown of the city by the bay to the charming look of young Gru. He has the same big expressive eyes that fill the emotional faces of his “little girls”. Carell does a great job of making his Gru voice look younger and less pronounced. Henson and the rest of the cast look like they’re having fun, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

Even if you can’t stand Minions (who are voiced again in “Minionese” by Pierre Coffin), you might find this one tolerable. Especially if you’re old enough to understand the 1976 jokes, but feel young enough to find bewilderment in all the goofy slapstick. If nothing else, it’s all neatly tied together in an arc, bringing the DMU up to date, thus rendering any further movies unnecessary. That is, unless this one makes a ton of money.

Now showing in theaters.

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