Minions' evil plot: Steal the show in 'Despicable Me 2'

6:07 PM, Jul 1, 2013   |    comments
We don't know why the minions wear goggles and blue overalls, but that doesn't stop us from loving them in 2010's 'Despicable Me' and the upcoming sequel. (Photo: Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment)
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(USA TODAY) -- Steve Carell's criminal mastermind Gru had everything in 2010's Despicable Me - he was the guy in the title role with the cool underground laboratory and the audacious super-villain plot.

But this wasn't enough to keep him from being overshadowed by his troublemaking yellow henchmen. Even Carell's son, John, then 6, caught minion mania.

"As we left the theater, my son was raving about the minions. He wanted a minion toy," Carell says. "I took no offense. There is no competing with these masters of upstagery. You just have to bow down to minion appeal."

The worshiping is underway again as Despicable Me 2 hits theaters Wednesday. Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud had little choice but to give the popular pill-shaped creatures an enhanced role even more integral to the main plot. Minions have their own ride, Minion Mayhem, at Universal Studios Orlando. They are the sole images covering entire city buses and billboards. There's even a minion blimp.

"We're seeing them everywhere," Coffin says, laughing. "It's a little bit disturbing."

Coffin provides most of the gibberish minion dialogue based on a hodgepodge of random languages and menu items. There is no explanation given for the goggles (covering either one or two large eyes), the blue overalls or their glee for all things evil. During voice recordings, Carell simply started randomly assigning basic names like Phil or Kevin, which have stuck.

"They steal these movies with their crazy, anarchic fun," says Bill Desowitz, contributing editor of Animation Scoop on, who calls them "a cross between a Twinkie and a rubber duck."

Key minions have even started developing distinctive personalities, which will be fully fleshed out when they get their own film, Minions, in 2014. They will serve Scarlett Overkill, the world's first aspiring female supervillain (voiced by Sandra Bullock), but this time, the yellow guys will have their names on the poster.

"The sky is the limit for the minions," Carell says. "Aside from anything else, they give people a lot of joy. And that's a really great thing."

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