Alex has been an online sports and pop culture writer for five years. When he's not writing about sports, Alex is an aspiring screenwriter.
Bob's Burgers has been a popular Fox cartoon since 2011. While entertaining, the combination of fart jokes and quirky song numbers never screamed cinematic, a Bob's Burgers Movie was announced. And now, the Belcher clan has joined The Simpsons and South Park in beloved animated shows with a movie.
The Belchers are facing a financial crisis when the bank is calling on their monthly loan. The timing is terrible because an eruption has created a massive hole right in front of the restaurant, cutting into Bob's business. Landlord Calvin Fischoeder is actually willing to cut the Belchers some slack. But the timing becomes worse when Louise discovers a corpse in the pothole. And Calvin is the main culprit in the murder. The kids try to solve the murder while Bob and Linda try to save their finances.
That plot may sound like the movie is a 90-minute episode of the show. And yeah, it kind of is. But the film splits the difference between being big enough that it feels like a full-fledged movie, but stays in its lane. Bob's Burgers is ostensibly a humble shows. The Belchers are the underdogs. Being an overachiever and bringing in a bunch of A-list celebrities who don't appear on the show would feel against the tone of the show. More importantly, if it works, it works.
The animation is mostly the same as the show, but looks sharper with more shadows. There's a subplot involving Louise's trademark bunny ear hat. It's interesting to get an explanation for this ever-present but seldom talked about feature. But they don't overdo it with some unnecessary reveal. Even if this article said what the reveal was, it wouldn't feel like a spoiler. Also, it's pretty easy to figure out who the culprit behind the mystery is. But the movie is so entertaining it won't matter.
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When it comes to comedy like this, to quote Roger Ebert, you either laugh or you don't. And anyone who is a fan of the show will probably laugh. This fart and poop joke style humor can be a hard sell for me - as can the show's reliance on annoying voices. But Bob's Burgers figured out the Tao of making this humor genuinely funny. Maybe it's because the characters are genuinely likable. Like on the show, there are one or two jokes that clang. But like on the show, the few clunkers are over quickly enough thanks to the rapid-fire humor.
Music is a big part of the show, and that carries over. However, the songs are... fine. There have been catchier and funnier songs on the show. But the songs in this movie are fine.
There are a few issues - the subplot about Tina's obsession with Jimmy Jr. feels a little redundant. There are some fantasy sequences that are entertaining. They feel like they belong without feeling like an obnoxious attempt to lampshade that this is a movie. There's also a sequence in the third act where the Belchers are trapped somewhere. It captures their desperation and there are some touching moments between the family. However, in a movie that keeps frenetic energy going, it slows the movie down just a little. Naturally, none of these problems are dealbreakers.
Overall, the Bob's Burgers Movie feels like something that was made with passion and not just to cash in a paycheck. It splits the difference between feeling like a longer episode (or a direct-to-video movie a la what Family Guy has done) and feeling cinematic. Anyone who's a fan of the show should check this out. It doesn't feel like viewers NEED to see it at a theater. But those who do will have a good time.
Though for any fans who miss it, the good news is there aren't too many major plot points that will be missed. (Although the plot was subtly foreshadowed on the show.) That cuts both ways, anyone who has missed out on Bob's Burgers over the last decade watch the movie without needing to catch up. The movie isn't loaded with in-jokes that will baffle newcomers.
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© 2022 Alex deCourville