Tag Archives: Steve Carrell

Yellow Fellows

‘Minions’ breaks out ‘Despicable’ sidekicks for solo shenanigans


Starring Sandra Bullock & Jon Hamm

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda


Their sideline shenanigans got some of the biggest laughs in Despicable Me (2010) and its 2013 sequel. Now the minions, those little nubby, yellow, evil-enabling assistants, headline their own madcap spinoff about their long, crazy quest to find the “most despicable master” of all to serve.

And what a quest—it begins, we find out (as guided by the narration of Geoffrey Rush) in primordial ooze and quickly bops through various incidents across the centuries as the minions seek out a succession of “bad guys” from dinosaurs and Dracula to an Egyptian pharaoh, Napoleon and an abominable snowman. But they always bungle things, with comically disastrous consequences.

So they keep moving, throughout the centuries and around the globe, until a trio of minion explorers (Kevin, Bob and Stuart) lands in New York City in 1968. Then things shift into comedic high gear as directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda riff on the vibrant sights and sounds of the era (the movie has a killer soundtrack of groovy late-’60s tunes) and serve up a buffet of pop-cultural cleverness for all ages.

2421_FPF2_00051RWhen Kevin, Bob and Stuart see a late-night TV ad for Villain-Con, an upcoming Comic-Con-like convocation of baddies, they know they have to hook up with event’s headliner, the queen of mean, Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock).

The minions have always had an instant appeal to kids, for obvious reasons: They look like wobbly toddlers, they speak gibberish (a goo-goo gush of Euro-babble, provided by director Coffin) and there’s an innate goodness and innocence underneath whatever “bad” they might otherwise be trying to do. They’re guaranteed laughs from children by just walking onto the screen.


Sandra Bullock provides the voice of supervillain Scarlett Overkill.

But there’s so much more to the humor here; parents will be greatly entertained by the vocal performances of Bullock as the preening villainess (which some major unresolved childhood issues); Jon Hamm as her groovy spy-gadget-guru husband; and Michael Keaton and Allison Janney as a bank-robbing mom and pop.

The plot zips and zings through dozens of silly sight gags, especially when things move to England and a scheme to steal the queen’s crown. A minion on stilt-like, spy-suit extension legs runs amok in the streets of London to the tune of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” Two minions flee a buzzing bee round and round on a cathedral chandelier, and with every frantic lap the fixture unscrews more and more. Rays from a “hypno hat” cause a trio of royal guards strip down to their undies—and break into a gonzo chorus from the musical Hair. The minions intrude on The Beatles’ photo shoot for the cover of Abbey Road.

Stay for a closing-credits montage that brings the minions full circle with Gru (Steve Carell), their master in the two Despicible movies—and a delightful ensemble treat from the whole cast.

At times it made me think of what the Three Stooges would be like if Moe, Larry and Curly were recast for the modern age as pint-size, goggle-wearing, butter-hued niblets. It may not be high humor, but boy, it sure made me laugh.

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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Anchors Away!

Cast of original comedy returns for more TV shenanigans

Anchorman 2

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Blu-ray $39.99, DVD $29.99 (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate and the rest of the original cast return in this hilarious sequel about a 1970s TV-reporting dream team now wrecking round-the-clock havoc in the ’80s on cable-TV’s first 24-hour news network. For a splurge, get the Blu-ray: It’s loaded over four hours of bonus content, including a raunchy R-rated version with 763 (!) new jokes not in the original; commentary by the stars and director; gags, goofs and deleted scenes; rehearsal footage and auditions; and much more.


—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine


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Summertime Blues

Water-park job keeps teen from drowning in vacation misery


The Way Way Back

DVD $19.98 / Blu-ray $29.98 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

A sunny, sparkling summer coming-of-age comedy now released as part of the Fox Home Entertainment Holiday Collection, this tale of a miserable 14-year-old teen, Duncan (Liam James), dragged away on a family vacation with his mom (Toni Collette) and her oppressive boyfriend (Steve Carell), won over indie audiences before finding broader success with more mainstream crowds earlier this year. Things start looking up for Duncan, however, when he meets a cute girl next door (AnnaSophia Robb) and lands a gig at the local water park, where he meets a cool-cat mentor older friend (Sam Rockwell) who helps him navigate the challenges of life, love, family and friendship. Bonus features include several making-of and behind-the-scenes features.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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