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Review: A prequel for the pipsqueaks called ‘Minions’

In this image released by Universal Pictures, Scarlet Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock, second left, appears with minions Stuart, left, Kevin and Bob, right, in a scene from the animated feature, "Minions." (Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures via AP)

Sidekicks rarely shine when thrust into the spotlight, but what about a few hundred of them?

The Minions, having been the best part of the two previous “Despicable Me” movies, have swarmed the screen in “Minions.” As candidates for center stage, they are seemingly ill-suited. Slavishly — if rarely competently — devoted lackeys, they’re underlings by both definition and verticality.

They don’t speak intelligibly, which, to be fair, isn’t a bar all of Hollywood’s leading men reach. Instead, they talk in a bright babble that belies their fondness for colorful phonetics. “Banana” and “pi

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