The Bob’s Burgers Film Review

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The Bobs Burgers Film Review: After 13 seasons, Bob’s Burgers has decided to follow in the footsteps of many other popular animated series and release an extended episode as a feature film. The vivid colors have an odd shine, the contrast is somewhat increased, and the stakes are both higher and certain to return to their weekly status quo, as these things typically go.

When it comes to this kind of exercise, it’s exactly what you would expect from this specific movie spin-off: a few honest (and unsurprisingly out-of-tune) numbers featuring its key cast of voice actors, none of whom can sing but all who give it their old college try. For an hour and forty minutes in an air-conditioned theatre as summer approaches, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is a mainly enjoyable experience with humor that only sometimes overstay its welcome.

As expected, the entire beloved chin-less family is back and operating at peak efficiency (not that they ever left; the show’s 12th season wrapped earlier this week). H. Jon Benjamin’s Bob Belcher (the patriarch fry cook) is as piratical, matter-of-fact, and worried as ever when an enormous loan payment is imminent. While preparing lunch for their loan agent in hopes of securing an extension, his wife Linda (John Roberts) twists her words of encouragement into bouncing, silly musical asides about summertime enjoyment.

There’s nothing unusual about the three Belcher children, who are each doing what they do best. With nothing more than rubber bands, napkin holders, and other household items, Gene (Eugene Mirman) creates his own musical instruments from scraps from his parents’ restaurant in order to perform at a beachside carnival. Despite being 9 years old, Louise (Kristen Schaal) has finally come to terms with the idea that her signature appearance (a pink bunny-ear hat) is no longer appropriate for her.

Even after all these years, Tina (Dan Mintz) still craves Jimmy Pesto Jr. (Benjamin), the lisping juvenile dancer she hopes will be her summer boyfriend. Only this time, the Belcher family’s lives are turned upside down when a sinkhole opens up outside their burger restaurant and a carnival worker’s death from six years ago is discovered. This is the normal half-hour episode save for Louise’s new existential dilemma. In reality, the revived case is little more than a wrench in a business model that is already under threat.

They’re unable to make their loan payments or negotiate a reduced rent because their storefront is now an active crime scene, and their affluent landlord Mr. Fischoeder (Kevin Kline) is a prime suspect. The Belchers’ youngest daughter, Louise, is the one who sets the plot in action, both to solve the murder mystery and to prove to her friends that she’s anything but the sheltered little girl they think she is.

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The Bob’s Burgers Movie is a fairly enjoyable and unoffensive film, thanks to Mirman’s delightfully weird Gene, a character who has no filter and whose wide vocabulary outweighs his comprehension of the words themselves. Musical numbers in the film’s Broadway-like approach compliment him brilliantly; at any time, character sings are here to have a good time, finesse is damned.

Because it’s as good-natured as a four-quadrant family movie can be, it’s about as Bob’s Burgers as you can hope for (i.e. a show where various characters’ passions are encouraged despite their lack of aptitude). And, yes, the jokes that don’t quite hit the mark can be exhausting, but they don’t detract from the momentum of the conspiracy plot or the precision with which every scenario feels tailor-made for the comedy stylings of one character or another.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie appears to be cognizant of its own visual style in a way that other comedies aren’t. With the Belcher family and their business under threat, there are more shadows added to the familiar colors of the television screen, but they are used exceptionally well. Instead of looking superficially “cinematic” (as in The Simpsons Movie, where everything looked a little sickly), there is a little more thought put into its use of light and darkness.

For the first time in a long time, the quiet times are truly personal. As a big-screen adaptation of a cartoon sitcom, with all of the expectations that come with this kind of thing, it’s not exactly a visual marvel. The Bob’s Burgers Movie is a lighthearted, family-friendly summertime flick that’s sure to please.

Even when the plot slows to a standstill, the film keeps on rolling out jokes to fill the time. But when the quips are this amusing, it’s hard to complain. There are parts of the story that don’t work, but it’s so committed to the ones that do that they make it worth watching even when they don’t work completely. In a nutshell, it’s Bob’s Burgers.

Final Lines

The Bob’s Burgers Movie is delightful, unoffensive summer entertainment, thanks to its quick-fire jokes that rarely go on for too long. With a hint of the animated sitcom’s upcoming 13th season, there’s a mystery with a musical undertone to it.