The French animated comedy Minions is a prequel to the monster hits Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. I haven’t seen either; no matter, Minions is an absolute hoot on its own.

The first thing you need to know, as an adult contemplating spending an hour and a half on this, is that it’s set in 1968, in London for the most part, and has wild fun with both time and place. The sight gags – which are endless – don’t just seem to be there for the adults; they seem to be what the whole thing is about. I’m sure the sound and colour and frantic plotting and characters will appeal to the littlies, but most of the jokes in Minions will fly over their heads, and right into yours. The soundtrack is also a killer. You know you’re a successful franchise when you can license a Beatles track for your closing credits.

The Minions speak in their own language which seems to comprise, to my ear, about seventy percent gibberish, fifteen percent Spanish, then a melange of English, European and Asian dialects. It’s hysterical and will provide many bonus laughs for parents once this thing goes massive on DVD and into high rotation in young households. Most impressively, all the Minions are voiced by the film’s director, Pierre Coffin, who deserves some sort of special award.

Being a French film, there are endless jokes at the expense of the English – none offensive, mind you – and the human characters are all a lot sexier than you’d find walking around in a Pixar, Disney or DreamWorks flick. Even Britain’s Queen – quite a major character! – slouches louchely. C’est très amusant.

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