At the Movies with Alan Gekko: The Bob’s Burgers Movie “2022”

At the Movies with Alan Gekko: The Bob’s Burgers Movie “2022”

MPAA Rating: PG-13/ Genre: Animated Musical Comedy/Voices of: H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal, Zach Galifianakis, Kevin Kline, David Wain, Sam Seder, Aziz Ansari, David Herman, Gary Cole, Brian Huskey, Jenny Slate, Ron Lynch, Stephanie Beatriz/ Runtime: 102 minutes

I think it’s fairly safe to say that with each and every time an animated show decides to make the transition from television screens worldwide to movie theaters worldwide (for the most part), there is usually more often than not another leap that takes place. Namely that the show’s creators start thinking about the ways that they can go bigger. By go bigger no I am not talking about the size of the screen that it is playing on, but kudos to you for going so literal. Rather, I am talking about the fact that by increasing the runtime from 30 minutes to closer to 2 hours you see that the creators of these animated shows decide that they need to stretch out the narrative and what finer way to stretch things out than by upping the stakes? As a result, we see that this concept is one that has now become a time-tested formula with such examples as SpongeBob going on a quest to find Gary with the aid of tumble weed Keanu Reeves, The Simpsons squaring off against villainous government agent Albert Brooks after Homer gets Springfield put under a bio-dome by the EPA, Beavis and Butt-Head going on a road trip, and the kids of South Park inadvertently triggering a war between the United States and Canada respectively. Yet with all of that being said, it is fairly noteworthy to note that this time-honored way of thinking is surprisingly not at the heart of the new feature film quasi-sorta expansion of the animated show Bob’s Burgers known as (get this) The Bob’s Burgers Movie. Oh don’t get me wrong dear reader: there is calamities which occur that have some pretty significant fallout and yes some characters do find themselves in some fairly dangerous situations in this. At the same time however, it’s not exactly on a magnitude that is distinguishable from what avid fans have come to expect from the show. Suffice it to say that rather than choosing to go down a path that would prove to either reinvent this series or take it to a whole different level altogether, this slice of cinema manages to plain and simply prove to be a delightful transition of every component that people appreciate about the show and insert them into a cinematic format. Suffice it to say that, much like the series itself (even though I must confess I still haven’t seen that many episodes….shame on me I know), this slice of cinema proves to be a bonafide joy through and through. Indeed not only is the voice cast perfectly on point and the relationships between the odd and quirky family and their support cast a wonderful mix of weird, bleak, silly, and endearing, but this slice of cinema also manages to locate a terrific narrative to regale audiences with that is able to blend those components together perfectly. Suffice it to say that fans will love this with a passion and no it might not be enough to have people who dislike the show change their tune, but it may represent the best things about the show that it might encourage viewers who are on the fence to maybe put more of a full-time investment into watching the show more often.

The plot is as follows: Penned by a trinity of writers who have all been integral components of the television show since the show got underway all the way back in the long ago year of 2011, this slice of cinema gets its narrative rolling as we see that the main family, aka the Belcher family, is dealing with a situation that is by no means a stranger to them. By that I mean not only is their beloved restaurant severely short on funds, but if they do not get a leg up financially or an extension on paying the bill, they will go out of business. As a result we see, courtesy of a wonderfully hopeful musical number at the beginning, that family patriarch Bob and family matriarch Linda decide that they are going to go to the bank and amaze their account manager into giving them an extension courtesy of an out of this world burger. Unfortunately we soon see that despite their best efforts, their burger bribe is firmly turned down and they are promptly given no more and no less than seven days to make some kind of payment on their loan otherwise the bank will start to repo the various equipment and appliances inside the restaurant. Fortunately for our optimistically intrepid family, we soon a possible chance to pay the debt off soon emerges in the form of the upcoming 80th anniversary of the theme park located on the pier just down the road from them. However even that soon goes awry when not only does a massive sinkhole choose to emerge right in front of the restaurant, but a man’s less than living body is soon found in the pit with the belief being held by the police is that he was murdered. Yet while we see Bob, Linda, and family friend/ frequent customer Larry desperately try to locate an alternative method to acquire the restaurant’s desperately needed funds, we see that their trinity of children consisting of Tina, Gene, and Louise respectively make the decision, despite their own personal dilemmas currently going on, to try something different than their parents. Namely no more and no less than trying to solving the six-year cold case that has just literally opened itself up right in front of them. Thus will the family find a way to save their beloved restaurant let alone solve a heinous crime or is it safe to say that Bob’s Burgers is on its way to being truly well done? That I will leave for you to discover for yourself dear reader….

Now through the delightful utilization of both the lightning quick gags to say nothing of hilarious innuendos that are key components for what makes the show work on the level that it does, I think it can be easily said that The Bob’s Burgers Movie manages to distinguish itself as a by and large fairly agreeable and likable to say nothing of unlikely to ruffle a whole lot of feathers viewing experience with quite a bit of the comedy in this coming from the wonderfully odd character of Gene. Not just because this is a character who was seemingly born without a filter in any shape mind you, but because he has such an immense vocabulary at his disposal that more often than not the level of words he knows completely and hilariously overshadows his level of comprehension at just what exactly those words mean. Serving as a brilliant reinforcement to the quirkiness of the characters are the musical numbers that pop up throughout the film. Yeah I guess I should warn you now dear reader: it seems like at an given point in time you might witness characters just choose to start singing even if their skill is somewhere between Frank Sinatra’s and Pierce Brosnan from the 2008 Mamma Mia. Of course, as anyone who is a passionate fan of the show will tell you this fits perfectly since in the show itself we see various characters and their varying enthusiasms are all fostered even if they’re not the best at them. At the same time, I also feel that when nearly every single line of dialogue is a joke waiting to make you at the very least smile then this could run into a dilemma consisting of if there are any jokes that don’t land like they ought to then they are going to be even more draining than usual due to this slice of cinema being over twice as long as a regular episode. At the same time, yes there are some jokes in this might not work as well as they should, but they also thankfully don’t deter from either the drive with which the mystery-based narrative weaves its way through various twists and turns or the fairly on-point accuracy with how every set up feels lovingly made for the comedic method of madness of at least one of the characters in this film. Now when looking at this film from a visual perspective, it should be said that this slice of animated cinema seems to be fondly cognizant of just how animated TV shows usually look when they make the transition from the small screen to the big screen. As a result we see that although there is quite a bit more in terms of shadows than what is present on your television screen, they are also utilized phenomenally well. Indeed, rather than its appearance feeling superficially “cinematic” in a manner akin to what audiences found themselves treated to in The Simpsons Movie from 2007, there is a fair degree more of thought that is placed into how this slice of animated cinema chooses to utilize the concepts of light and dark especially in regards to the dire circumstances being faced by the Belcher clan in this film to the point that the more solemn moments in this actually feel legitimately warm. No this slice of cinema is not really a masterclass in terms of design, but it does nevertheless manage to hold its own as a cinematic take of an animated television show. Yes this slice of cinema is also guilty of stretching out its runtime with joke after joke since there are a few moments when the narrative doesn’t work as well as it should. Yet in all fairness, when the jokes in question land fairly well why gripe too much about it? Finally, yes this film may be guilty of not being able to consistently keep up its character-focused components consistently throughout and it may deliver on them in a way that can be a bit messy, but it also happens to be so faithful to even the material that doesn’t operate as well as it ought to that it still proves to be fairly rewarding by the end. In other words dear reader: this is the show down to a t and in that regard that might be the biggest deterrent or the best motivator for you to give this slice of animated cinema a chance.

Now the other big component that is working in this slice of cinema’s favor would have to be the work done by this film’s main vocal cast, all of whom are playing their respective roles from the show, in this including, in no particular order, H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Gene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Kevin Kline, Zach Galifanakis, and David Wain respectively to name but a few. Yet in case you are worried that any member of this highly talented cast of players makes the choice to just phone in their respective performance then I am thankful to let you know that most assuredly is by no means the case. Indeed not only does each and every single member of this voice cast give their respective character in this slice of animated cinema bring to the table the same degrees of both charm and comedic brilliance as their work on the show, but it will also leave you seriously scratching your head and wondering just why in the world the creative powers that be didn’t choose to give this slice of cinema the green light sooner. Yet if their comedy chops in this film aren’t enough to persuade you to see further misadventures of the Belcher clan and friends then maybe their singing talent will make that possible since the moments where they cut loose and go into song definitely help to add not only to the comedy aspect of their performances, but also to the heartwarming side of the equation as well. Suffice it to say that every single person is not only perfectly in synch with their respective character, but with the rest of the cast as well thus making this film a genuine treat from a performance standpoint.

All in all flaws with this slice of cinema aside, I think it is safe to say that if you are the kind of person who really loves viewing Bob’s Burgers every single week on FOX then I can most assuredly say that you will really enjoy The Bob’s Burgers Movie. Indeed not only does this slice of cinema wrap up some dangling threads from the show, but it also gives audiences some terrific comedy and performances from the show’s cast to say nothing of a wonderful big screen narrative that could then help the creators take the show forward from here. Any way you look at it however, there is no denying that this slice of cinema is an absolute blast from start to finish. No we might not get to see family patriarch Bob in the kitchen as much as we may have liked with this film, but there is no denying that The Bob’s Burgers Movie is one cinematic adaptation that is truly, if you’ll pardon the pun, well done. On a scale of 1-5 I give The Bob’s Burgers Movie a solid 4 out of 5.