As is our habit for July birthdays, my adult daughter and I go to a movie to celebrate. This is a decades long tradition for us and often the only movie we see at a theater all year. Now that she has children, they inevitably tag along for a fun family outing. We make a day of it – noon Mass at the Cathedral, lunch at a favorite restaurant, and then a movie. Our tastes are simple and tame, so it isn’t a problem for the kids to join us – usually that is.
Although our birthdays fall on July 1 and 2, we waited for the Minion movie to come out today – July 10. Who wouldn’t enjoy the harmless fun of yucking it up with those cute little pill-shaped protagonists, right? Why I even have priest friends who sport a biretta-wearing minion as their Facebook profile photo. They’re everywhere – spokes models for several brands from yogurt to cereal. With their penchant for bananas, unique language, and silly antics minions are the epitome of harmless fun – or so I thought.
Yes, I do realize that the first movie, Despicable Me, found the minions seeking a villain to follow as well but, in the end, Felonious Gru found redemption and became a good guy after all.
Spoiler alert: In the latest Minions we wait throughout the entire movie for a redemptive quality that never comes. There is a heartbreaking lack of morality in the entire film. You'd hope those little yellow capsule fellows would at least contain a conscience. But, in their quest to follow one villain after another, our little yellow chuckle-heads never find anyone respectable to whom they want to attach themselves – not even the Queen of England.
Equally distressing for our young companions, are the risqué scenes mingled in with the dark humor. We see a minion drop his pants to reveal a thong and a trio of hypnotized guards who strip to their boxers to gyrate, twerking-style.
I’ve forgiven or chosen to ignore the gratuitous bathroom humor, injected in many movies for kids these days – ostensibly to keep the boys and teens interested – but I draw the line at a character who says, ‘It’s just feels so good to be bad’ and then never changes her tone.
Sadly, the only thing I found enjoyable was the excellent Beatles soundtrack and the minions’ version of a walk across Abbey Road. My $7.50 matinee fee was badly spent money indeed.