Loveable animated TV family makes big screen debut in cute caper
By Diana Beechener
Despite working himself to the bone, Bob Belcher’s (H. Jon Benjamin: Central Park) restaurant is always one mishap away from folding. So, when the bank refuses to grant him a loan extension, Bob panics. He’ll have to have the best week of his life to make enough money to pay the bank.
Though Bob’s worried, his wife Linda (John Roberts) remains optimistic, assuring Bob that they can make plenty of money during the first week of summer. But before Linda can finish reassuring Bob, a giant sinkhole opens in front of the restaurant.
Though the sinkhole is a source of existential dread for Bob, his children Tina (Dan Mintz), Louise (Kristen Schaal), and Gene (Eugene Mirman), are fascinated by it. Louise, who’s been fretting over whether or not she seems “babyish” to her peers, decides the sinkhole will prove her mettle. She has her siblings film her descent into the pit…and promptly unearths a body.
Now the sinkhole can’t be filled in because it’s the scene of a murder. As Bob’s ulcers grow, his family bands together to solve the murder and save the restaurant.
The first foray onto the big screen for the beloved Fox cartoon, The Bob’s Burgers Movie isn’t for the uninitiated. This movie is essentially three episodes of the show stitched together for a feature length. All of the gentle humor, quirk, and musical numbers are there, but the film isn’t interested in introducing you to the established characters or catching you up on the personality quirks of the family. It assumes you have a base level of knowledge—without it some of the jokes may seem odd or not land at all.
Your reviewer falls into the casual viewer category. I’ve seen the show enough to have the gist, though I’ve never watched a full season. My very basic knowledge didn’t hamper the fun for me as I laughed at the ridiculous antics of Louise, cringed at Tina’s perpetual awkwardness, and did my best not to hum along with the songs.
However, if you’re a regular watcher of Bob’s Burgers, as Mr. Moviegoer is, you will get deeper enjoyment from the movie. There are plenty of references to older episodes and characters. Also there are several sight gags that sailed right over my head that my superfan companion caught. Overall, the film holds together well enough for an occasional viewer, but is much more rewarding for those that marathon-watch the seasons on Hulu.
The best part of The Bob’s Burgers Movie, however, wasn’t a reference to an episode that aired three years ago, or a daring musical number. As always, the true strength of Bob’s Burgers lies in the love the family unit has for each other. Each member of the Belcher family is a weirdo in their own specific way, and in turn, each member of the Belcher family is accepted by their family and loved for being a weirdo. It’s oddly touching for a show that features a character who writes erotic zombie fan fiction. In moments of true struggle, the Belchers always find a way to come through for each other. Even the perpetually morose Bob manages to uplift his family when he’s needed. It’s that bond, and the knowledge that these people love each other deeply that elevates this film above typical quirky cartoons.
If you’re already a fan of the show, this movie is well worth the ticket. If you’re new to the Bob’s Burgers world, I’d recommend starting with the TV show before venturing to the big screen. The Bob’s Burgers Movie is like a burger from your favorite fast food place—not really nutritious, but it hits the spot just the same.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie is exclusively in theaters.
Good Animation * PG-13 * 102 mins.