Alex Reviews "The Bob's Burgers Movie"
“Bob’s Burgers” has been one of the sharpest written series for over a decade now, but history has shown when something with that kind of a history shifts to the big screen there seems to be a movement to make a big Hollywood movie that loses the spirit of what got it there. With “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” we may have found an exception to that rule.
The film begins in the same way multiple episodes have, with an issue threatening the consistently open but (almost) never thriving restaurant though a sinkhole being the largest physical hurdle the Belcher family must overtake to pay back the bank the outstanding loan on the equipment they use each day. From there, a lot happens but not in a way that complicates what the show is at its heart. While the writing for this film matches the brilliance of the series, the visuals receive a major upgrade kind of like what Fox did with its last traditional animated feature in 2007 with The Simpsons Movie: the quality goes up but stays true to the style I have come to know and love from the small screen. It is evident here that the team had fun adding callbacks to the show in the background of many scenes including one of its favorite ongoing gags throughout with the business’ names surrounding the restaurant. (For those familiar with the show, I am curious to see how many bits will be caught, because there are A LOT.)
As for the story, the biggest test for me here would be how a story that is usually told in twenty-three minutes could stand to be made into a feature-length format. The one hour and forty-six-minute journey it ends up taking feels organic as if watching a traditional episode to the point where I’d be curious to hear if the narrative was meant to be a multiple-episode arc that either didn’t fit well within a season or lead to a “why not a movie?” discussion with studio executives. “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” also dodges the common pitfall of trying to introduce new characters or celebrity cameos that so many other properties stumble into. The powers-that-be here know that the heart of all of this lies with Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise, and the fact that over a decade of their adventures through crazy yet relatable family dynamics has stayed fresh is not lost here. While the fantastic writing, led by show creators Loren Bouchard and Jim Dauterive, greatly helps here, it goes hand-in hand with the chemistry of their voice talents (H. Jon Benjamin (Archer) as Bob, Kristen Schaal (What We Do in the Shadows) as Louise, Dan Mintz (Adventure Time) as Tina, John Roberts as Linda (Gravity Falls), and Eugene Mirman (Flight of the Conchords)). There are even some of the other characters and actors into the story that have been featured before, although some more in the end credits, but that was fun for me too.
My only gripe here would come from my love of the show. As much as I love the opening and the punny names of the other businesses, that is actually included more organically throughout versus doing them in a similar manner to how the show handles it as another nod to its fans. If that is my issue, that puts “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” in good standing with me for sure.
It is not often that a property can walk a high wire of pleasing long-time fans while being friendly to new audiences, but “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” does backflips on that high wire without ever losing its balance. It will be a tough weekend to open against some stiff competition, but this is one that I will rewatch the most. Rat’s All Folks!