2015. Rated PG, 91 minutes.
I've been accused of being childish, or at least having childish taste. That's my way of preparing you for my next statement. This movie is right up my alley. Rather than take hits to my maturity lying down, I think there are some rather sophisticated reasons for this. For one, there are a ton of pop-culture references slipped in that I'm sure went way over the head of the theater full of kids I watched it with. How could they not? Just about all of them are to things coming out of the 1960s. To be honest, most of the parents of the target audience are too young. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't get the jokes. As for me, I was in stitches when sly nods were given to Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, and a number of others. References to more modern things were a shade more subtle. The finale is nothing, if not an homage to old monster flicks and the original Ghostbusters. If that doesn't work for you, fine. There is also a ton of toilet and body humor of the borderline inappropriate type. It was funny to the kids. Funny to me. Don't judge.
Another major plus is the voice work of Sandra Bullock. She can be hit or miss with me, and this was definitely a hit. She is perfectly over the top and keeps the movie flowing. Her job is a bit tougher than you might think. The fact is she has to handle inordinate portion of the film's understandable dialogue. For the three of you that aren't familiar, our heroes speak their own language. Within it, there are bits of English, Spanish, and other things, but generally sounds like gibberish. While we understand what they mean, knowing what's being said falls squarely onto Bullock's lap. She handles the job very well. As Overkill's husband and partner-in-crime Herb, Jon Hamm also does very well. He brings a more understated, sarcastic quality that works well when juxtaposed with Bullock's insane diva act. Of course, we eventually get Steve Carell reprising the role of Gru which is always good.
There is nothing deep going on, here. It's a movie that only has its comedy to rely on. Thankfully, that comedy is very good. Visually, it's right in line with the rest of the Despicable Me franchise. Actually, it's a bit better due to advancements in technology and a generally bigger approach to things. I don't always fall for the bigger is better approach, but in this case it's effective. However, through all of the positives, there is a negative. To continue with The Minions getting their own movies, the powers that be have to continually come up with exceptionally strong human characters. Bullock provides that here, but even so, there are times when she overwhelms our heroes relegating them to supporting players in their own movies. This is also due to the fact that none of them really stands out as a strong enough personality to carry a movie. As it stands, the movie works. How well depends on how much you get all the references and your tolerance for butt jokes.