The Bob’s Burgers Movie Is a Sweet and Savory Continuation of the TV Show: Review

·6 min read

The post The Bob’s Burgers Movie Is a Sweet and Savory Continuation of the TV Show: Review appeared first on Consequence.

The Pitch: The lives of the Belchers of Bob’s Burgers have never been easy, as we’ve seen over a whopping twelve (!!) seasons of animated misadventures on FOX. Patriarch Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), a perpetually anxious, balding burger-joint owner doing his best (and, it must be noted, unlikely bi icon), and the rest of the Belchers — exuberant mom Linda (John Roberts), butt-crazy horse girl Tina (Dan Mintz), musically-minded Gene (Eugene Mirman) and young chaos agent Louise (Kristen Schaal) — find themselves in one workaday pickle after another, from disastrous school talent shows to annual Thanksgiving shenanigans.

But in their first big-screen outing, they find themselves with the most direct threat to their burger restaurant yet: a massive sinkhole that opens up right in front of their place, turning away customers right at the start of summer break (and the local wharf’s big anniversary event).

This setback couldn’t come at a worse time for Bob and Linda, who desperately need the foot traffic to stay afloat right as business loans start coming due. Of course, the kids have their own problems to solve, from Tina finally working up the courage to make Jimmy Pesto Jr. (also Benjamin) her “summer boyfriend” to Gene’s (Eugene Mirman) existential crisis about his musical talent, to Louise bristling against schoolyard accusations that she’s a “baby” for still wearing her iconic pink bunny ears.

But when a dead body suddenly turns up in the sinkhole, and their landlord Mr. Fischoeder (Kevin Kline) gets pinned for the murder, the Belchers will have to band together as they’ve always done to clear his name — and, selfishly, get him to give them a break on the rent.

The Bob's Burgers Movie (20th Century Studios)
The Bob's Burgers Movie (20th Century Studios)

The Bob’s Burgers Movie (20th Century Studios)

Dial B for Burger: It feels strange to get a feature-length theatrical Bob’s Burgers movie in 2022; the show, after all, is in its twelfth season, an era of any show when its cultural relevance may be dying down. And to be fair, the height of Bob’s relevance is a few years gone, and its recent seasons have felt a little repetitive from time to time. (Plus, this film was supposed to come out back in 2020, before COVID made it one of the many years-long cinematic victims of the pandemic.)

But it’s finally here, and it’s everything fans of the show could possibly expect: no more, no less. This time, the Belchers get themselves involved in a full-on murder mystery, as the kids choose to track down who really killed a down-on-his-luck carny at the wharf to save their parents from financial ruin.

Bob and Linda, meanwhile — with the help of over-eager friend and regular Teddy (Larry Murphy) — try to clandestinely operate a makeshift burger cart made from a home grill and some fortuitous 2x4s (and the sheet pan “olive bar” Teddy gleefully added to the thing). Like a good Bob’s episode, the various subplots function well enough on their own before coalescing into a big goofy climax that lets each of the game cast have their moment in the sun.

Co-directed by series creator Loren Bouchard and regular Bob’s director Bernard Derriman, the movie sticks close to what the series does best: its endearing characters, their myriad obsessions, and the heady mix of goofy puns and ear-catching songs that pepper the show’s fast-paced absurdism. With a bigger budget and a longer runtime, there’s more room to play, between a murderous prologue that’s downright Hitchcockian in its mood to more dynamic camera movements and uses of shadow.

The songs, though a bit sparser than fans may hope for (there’s about three solid numbers here, beware those expecting a full-blown Bob’s musical), are as tight and cheery as ever; the opening number “Sunny Days of Summer” is easily one of the series’ best. And God help us, we even get a car chase and a tense bomb defusal — but they’re the Bob’s versions of that, which means they’re playful, achievable, and usually involve animal-shaped carnival rides.

The Bob's Burgers Movie (20th Century Studios)
The Bob's Burgers Movie (20th Century Studios)

The Bob’s Burgers Movie (20th Century Studios)

Heart to Farts: While the plot feels like a slightly higher-stakes take on the usual Belcher antics, The Bob’s Burgers Movie takes the extra time to allow its characters a bit more self-reflection than is often afforded in a 25-minute runtime. The crisis puts Bob and Linda head to head with their one-sided dynamic of Bob the pessimist, Linda the eternal optimist; Tina rethinks her series-long infatuation with Jimmy Jr.; even Louise grows up a little bit.

These moments feel right at home in the world of the show, the life-or-death stakes of the whole thing feeling like a solid moment for the Belchers to look past their own individual bugaboos and recognize the strength they have as a unit. Benjamin and Schaal, in particular, get to play some nice moments of introspection; Bob and Louise always been the most cynical and practical members of the family, which makes their respective conflicts some of the most interesting (especially when the conflict lies with one another).

At the same time, what sets the Belchers apart from, say, the bickering Fischoeder family (including brother Felix (Zach Galifinakis) and cousin/family lawyer Grover (David Wain) is their undying loyalty to, and acceptance of, each other. They may bicker, snipe, and talk past each other, but their loyalty to the clan above all else makes the show (and the movie) so heartwarming, no matter how much talk of poop and butts the script may be seasoned with.

The Verdict: In many ways, The Bob’s Burgers Movie pretty much just gives you what you’d expect from an extra-long, slightly bigger-budgeted episode of the show. But that’s the secret to making it work: More than a decade in, Bouchard and the cast and crew can do this kind of whimsical animated farce in their sleep. No matter the slightly glossier sheen or more dynamic CG-aided camerawork, a feature-quality Bob’s movie is still the show’s wondrous, quick-witted self.

You don’t need to be a Bob’s diehard to enjoy this; I’d love to hope that a few new faces will zoom back through Hulu to binge the show after they see this. But those of us who’ve stuck with the series for years, given burgers silly pun-based names, and sung “Bad Stuff Happens in the Bathroom” to ourselves on the toilet more than once will feel a sense of validation. We waited literal years for a Bob’s Burgers movie to hit screens, and it’s here, and it’s a whole lot of fun.

Where’s It Playing? The Bob’s Burgers Movie works hard or dies trying, girl, in theaters Memorial Day weekend.

Trailer:

The Bob’s Burgers Movie Is a Sweet and Savory Continuation of the TV Show: Review
Clint Worthington

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