Film Review: Bob’s Burgers Movie
The Bob’s Burgers Movie
Directors: Loren Bouchard, Bernard Derriman
Bento Box Entertainment and Wilo Productions
In Theaters 05.27
There’s something to be said for comfort food, whether it’s a nice, juicy cheeseburger or a beloved, animated comedy. The Bob’s Burgers Movie is a piece of comfort food moviegoing that I didn’t even know I needed right now.
An extension of the wildly popular animated series, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is an animated, big-screen, musical comedy-mystery-adventure that, at its heart, is really just a feature length episode with higher quality animation. When a ruptured water main creates an enormous sinkhole right in front of Bob’s Burgers, their storefront is blocked indefinitely, and the Belchers family’s plans for a much needed boom in business over the summer are ruined. Meanwhile, Louise (voiced to perfection by the magnificent pagan goddess known as Kristen Schaal) finds herself plagued with self doubt at school when the mean Chloe Barbash (Stephanie Beatriz, Brooklyn 99, Encanto) calls her “the B word” (baby) and makes fun of her bunny ears. Faced with a need to prove her bravery and self worth, Louise takes it upon herself to solve a mystery that threatens the future of the family’s restaurant, and of course Louise brings her sister Tina and brother Gene along for backup.
In terms of taking the storytelling to new heights or bringing things to a grand scale never seen before, The Bob’s Burgers Movie may be mildly disappointing to some viewers. It doesn’t have the scale or stakes of The Simpsons Movie, though it definitely recalls that film in the added shading and fluidity that’s brought to the animation. It does have plenty of laughs and that wonderful mix of snark, cynicism and tenderness that makes people like me come back to the show season after season.
Faithful viewers of the series know that musical numbers have become more and more integral, and The Bob’s Burgers Movie embraces this to play the film as a musical throughout. The songs are cute and breezy, even if there isn’t a true showstopper in the bunch. The voice cast, led by Schaal and H. John Benjamin as Bob, is terrific as always, and the presence of Kevin Kline and Zach Gallifinakis as Calvin and Felix Fischoeder is a treat. Even better, Gary Cole‘s quirky Sergeant Bosco gets some nice screen time and solid laughs.
The pacing, as well as the sense of adventure, are fun, with the mystery element making The Bob’s Burgers Movie an engrossing—if silly—story that stands out as a particularly good episode even if it’s nothing that moves the larger story forward in any significant way. Much like with The Simpsons Movie, you have to be prepared for the fact that The Bob’s Burgers Movie is fundamentally limited in what it can do in regards to major character growth—it’s still a weekly series and one in which characters stay the same age for decades at a time.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie will be a great “special of the day” for fans, who may find themselves ordering it again and again. While it’s accessible enough to be easily digestible to those who aren’t regular customers, it’s definitely aimed at those who have already developed a taste, and if you fall into that category, dig in and enjoy. –Patrick Gibbs