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The Independent Critic

VOCAL WORK BY
Steve Carell, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Alan Arkin, Pierre Coffin
DIRECTED BY
Kyle Balda
CO-DIRECTED BY
Jonathan del Val, Brad Ableson
SCREENPLAY
Matthew Fogel, Brian Lynch
MPAA RATING
Rated PG
RUNNING TIME
87 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Universal Pictures
OFFICIAL WEBSITE

 The Minions Rise Once Again in "Minions: Rise of Gru" 

If you were with me at this very moment in my Indianapolis home as I write this review, you'd likely notice that  Bob, Kevin, and Stuart are staring down at me as if willing me to make sure that this "critique" accurately reflects what is known to be a deep affection for these adorable yellow creatures with indecipherable mutterings and overalls a few sizes too big. 

I will not disappoint Bob, Kevin, or Stuart or, in fact, Otto who is soon to join them. 

I love Minions. I loved the Despicable Me films from which they were born and I've loved each of the Minions films that have followed. I've loved all of the adorable short films that pop up all over the internet. As someone who fervently avoids action figures or Funkos or whatever, I'm absolutely unashamed of the fact that Minions adorn my living room, dining room, and even my bedroom. 

I admit this might explain my complete lack of a dating life. 

I shriek with delight when yet another friend gifts me with a Minions-themed item and if I could find queen-sized Minion bedsheets I would proudly display them. 

Again, this might explain my complete lack of a dating life. 

So, I will openly confess that Minions: The Rise of Gru has been one of my most eagerly anticipated films of the summer of 2022. 

Minions: The Rise of Gru did not disappoint. 

I laughed. I cried. I giggled. I laughed some more. For just under 90 minutes, I immersed myself in the Minions universe and I loved every single minute of it. It doesn't matter to me that it wasn't the deepest story. It doesn't matter to me that I knew everything that was coming and I was nearly exactly right. It doesn't matter to me that these Minions did exactly what they always do. 

They're silly and sweet and evil in all the delightfully delicious ways. As voiced by Pierre Coffin, and I seriously have no idea how he does that, I absolutely adored these Minions and there's literally no doubt at all I'll be seeing Minions: The Rise of Gru for a second time over the holiday weekend. 

Maybe even a third time. 

I can hardly wait. 

The Rise of Gru takes place after the original Minions movie but before the Despicable Me films (not that it matters one iota in terms of appreciating the film). We meet young Gru, a fanboy of a villainous supergroup known as the Vicious 6 and when one of their members, Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin), is booted from the group Gru is invited to interview for the group. 

It doesn't go well. 

You know the story from here if not the actual specifics. Dejected, Gru steals the group's powerful zodiac stone and instructs new Minion Otto to hide it. 

That doesn't go well either. 

While my love for Minions is similar to my love for the Paddington films. The Paddington are more universal, more soulful, and they serve as practically the definition of what it means to be a family film. 

The Minions films, I'd dare say, are the Adam Sandler of family films. They are goofy and charming and silly and weird. They are filled with "aw shucks" moments and moments when adults and children alike will giggle and guffaw and surrender to the child within. They have their messages for sure, the importance of needing each other being front and center in Rise of Gru, but the Minions films are special precisely because they offer up the opportunity for both parents and children to forget about life for a while and just plain laugh. 

Rise of Gru is relatively slight in storytelling yet a noteworthy improvement in terms of both animation and actual humor along with the integration of pop culture and music. Simon and Garfunkel's Cecilia shows up here and it's an absolute delight. 

While the film is called Minions: The Rise of Gru, the film is absolutely focused on the Minions as it should be. Steve Carell's vocal work as Gru continues to entertain and inspire, but Pierre Coffin's vocal stylings as the Minions comes off like the Tower of Babel on helium. Honestly? I just hear the Minions and I start laughing. It's easy to think that the Minions all sound the same and look the same, but they have their unique personalities and their unique styles. It's actually quite easy to tell them apart. 

Minions: The Rise of Gru is spectacularly fun and silly with enough heart and humor to please the entire family. It's an oasis of silliness and sincerity during a time when the pandemic has worn us down and politics can be just plain overwhelming. If you've needed a laugh, The Rise of Gru is the answer. If you've needed a couple hours with your inner child, Rise of Gru provides it. If you need a reminder that no matter how evil the world gets that we're all going to be alright, then make time to check out Minions: The Rise of Gru. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic