We don’t get a lot of movies that were once popular television shows anymore, don’t we? Animated shows, in particular, where it’s a huge chance to give it a scale different from what’s seen on the small screen. Sometimes there’s a purpose, and sometimes it rarely pays off. Out of all the acclaimed sitcoms that have been on the air for years now, I’m surprised The Bob’s Burgers Movie exists since I didn’t know it was still coming out after its delays. After a two-year wait, we get the experience of the popular TV family on an adventure crazier that will hit more vital with longtime fans than newbies.
When a ruptured water main creates an enormous sinkhole right in front of Bob’s Burgers, it blocks the entrance indefinitely and ruins the Belchers’ plans for a successful summer. While Bob and Linda (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin and John Roberts) struggle to keep the business afloat, Louise (voiced by Kristen Schaal), Gene (voiced by Eugene Mirman), and Tina (voiced by Dan Mintz) try to solve a mystery that could save their family’s restaurant. As the dangers mount, these underdogs help each other find hope and fight to get back behind the counter, where they belong.
The first time I heard the news about this movie was after Gen Biology class one day (ugh) and I had to go to the library to print something out. While I was there, I read about the announcement, which excited me. I haven’t watched every episode, which has been running for 12 seasons and over 200 episodes since 2011, but it’s one of the few shows I love having on in the background. After the first season was when it got good. Bob’s Burgers has always been the more clever and funny cartoon on prime time and is honestly more watchable than The Simpsons and Family Guy over the past decade. Interestingly enough, the last time a Fox series got a movie was The Simpsons Movie 15 years prior, and it was a success. Skepticism was in place, wondering if this would benefit well for two hours and bring what fans already loved still. With that, I’m not looking at The Bob’s Burgers Movie as the best-animated movie this year, but one worth recommending to those who want a taste of this world.
We always ask the big question when it’s a TV adaptation: Does this need to be a movie, especially when the show in question is still airing? As someone who knows the show well enough, probably not. You can quickly look at this as an extended or three episodes to make up 100 minutes. But I’ve liked that the show doesn’t rely on dumb crass humor or time-wasting cutaways to pad on those 22 minutes when it’s all about the family’s crazy and regular day-to-day life. More rounded than usual with these characters. The plot itself isn’t what you would’ve imagined massive, like what went down in South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, or recently with Chip n Dale. I saw this with a friend of mine and I totally agree with him saying this was more like the past Nickelodeon movies from the 2000s or Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, except this was better.
And even when it doesn’t have to bring any stakes in the mix, creator Loren Bouchard and co-director Bernard Derriman still keep the flow of the movie with a familiar structure and the strength of its humor and heart attached, being its own thing. Not everybody will understand, but it still makes it work for what it tried to achieve. This has some funny moments, thanks to the quirky dialogue given to everyone. One quick flashback set up by Tina had me laughing to the next scene, and I don’t know why it got me. It deals with Bob and Linda, along with Teddy, getting business out of the restaurant. At the same time, the kids are trying to uncover why a skeleton was found in the sinkhole and trying to save the restaurant themselves. Both side plots were entertaining in capturing the spirit of what fans can expect in the tamest PG-13 imaginable.
The voice cast didn’t need to have trouble getting famous actors in supporting roles when it’s just so nice knowing the same people who still work on the series are involved. You honestly can’t imagine hearing anyone else for the movie in their respective characters. H. Jon Benjamin as Bob, John Roberts as Linda, Kristen Schaal as Louise, Eugene Mirman as Gene, and Dan Mintz as Tina worked excellently with one other. Out of what’s happening with the kids, Louise was more interesting since she wants to prove she has bravery after she didn’t do this stunt on the playground. With Tina nervous about asking Jimmy Jr. to be her summer boyfriend and Gene wanting to perform at the annual concert at Wonder Wharf, it wasn’t concerning arcs for them since it’s more than what we usually see. My favorite character has always been Gene because you never know what he will say next and he gets the best laughs here. And you also Kevin Kline as landlord Mr. Fischoeder, Zach Galifianakis as his brother Felix, and even David Wain as their lawyer cousin Grover.
And because this property gets the movie treatment, the animation style looks brighter in blending comedy and mystery, albeit not precisely groundbreaking, when working on a bigger budget. That way, it gives them an excuse for detailed sequences like this chase through an underground bunker. We also get the origin of Louise’s trademark pink bunny ear hat I and everyone else wanted to know for years.
Did you also know it’s a musical? That wasn’t a surprise since an original song or two is in an episode where there’s singing. This might catch people off guard, but they weren’t too bad of songs; catchy though not entirely memorable outside the opening number, “Sunny Side Up Summer.” The musical concept isn’t much in the forefront where the attention is on the murder mystery. Right around the end of the second act was when I knew what was coming and felt like it wasn’t as exciting as it was early on. I thought the last song felt stretched out and made the momentum peak at that moment. Although, you can watch this and know it doesn’t change the rest of the series moving forward. That said, I still liked this because this writing lets us like the family dynamic more than they give each member something.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie plays out like an extended episode of the series, and as a casual viewer I am, it was certainly delightful. With its nice 2D animation, charm, and big laughs, this has a nice, simple adventure with the lovable characters of the Belchers. Will this convert non-fans? Maybe not, but it’ll be lucky if it did. Naturally, you’ll be craving a burger once you finish, which I had with me having Freddy’s later that evening.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie opened in theaters on May 27, 2022. Runtime: 102 Minutes. Rated PG-13 for rude/suggestive material and language. Studio: 20th Century Studios