Minions: The Rise of Gru review – another serving of funny goofball nonsense

There’s not a whole lot that is new in the latest instalment of the Despicable Me franchise, the second in the series to foreground the adventures of the Minions. But that familiar silliness, the madcap, looney-tunes energy, the big, wet raspberry blown in the face of sophistication, has always been what the Minions do best. And here, in Minions: The Rise of Gru, the bean-shaped evil-groupies deliver a concentrated hit of irrepressible goofball nonsense.

The film, which loosely follows the 2010 first Minions movie as an extended origin story for Gru and his banana-hued acolytes, unfolds in a luridly psychedelic version of the late 70s. The hippest villains on the block are the Vicious 6, a team that includes disco chick Belle Bottom (Taraji P Henson), a rollerskating Swede called Svengeance (Dolph Lundgren) and martial arts holy woman Nun-Chuck (Lucy Lawless), a one-joke character who still manages to generate plenty of laughs.

When the Vicious 6 oust their leader, a grizzled old biker called Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin), 12-year-old Gru (Steve Carell) spots an opportunity and auditions to fill the vacant slot. The try-out doesn’t quite go to plan, but Gru’s nascent supervillain instincts kick in and he out-bad-guys the bad guys. The film’s approach is a near-relentless barrage of sight gags, puns and effervescent cartoon violence; the result is exhausting but extremely funny.