Saturday, June 22, 2024

Movie Review: ‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ is a Sumptuous Feast

Director: Loren Bouchard, Bernard Derriman

Writers: Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith

Stars: H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal

Synopsis: The Belchers try to save the restaurant from closing as a sinkhole forms in front of it, while the kids try to solve a mystery that could save their family’s restaurant.

There are millions of us out there who have been delighted the last twelve years by a strange, joyful, ride or die family unit. The Bob’s Burgers Movie isn’t a culmination or an aberration of all that’s come before it. It’s a new layer between the bun and the patty. It’s the fresh ingredient in one of Bob’s Burgers of the Day, like a complex umami flavor that may make you cry, in a good way. The film delves deep into, and builds upon, the lore of this richly developed world to satisfy the most die hard fan. Though, what’s all that to someone who has never seen the show, but is intrigued by the movie or the fan that’s on the fence about spending money to catch something they get in twenty-two shorter installments throughout the year? Well…

Directors Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman pulled out all the stops with the animation. The Belchers move in ways they haven’t been able to move on screen. In addition to slick computer enhanced backgrounds, thecharacters dance like nothing else in animation because while it is choreographed like a musical with characters matching moves, each character has their own moves that are somehow uniquely them even though they’ve nver moved like that before. There’s one scene that will make your head spin. The Belcher kids go to meet their carny friend Mickey to get information to solve the central mystery. The carnies have their song and terrific dance, but then Louise, the youngest of the Belcher kids, joins the song and does her own dance and the depth of field changes with her profile in close up and the carnies below her. The sequence makes you forget that someone had to draw those moves, had to build those sequences with two dimensional characters. The level of detail in just this sequence alone is astounding. It really is gorgeous to look at and it is a visual feast on the big screen.

The TV show has always had these kinds of dance numbers and songs, and for the movie, the filmmakers hired highly talented duo of Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith to give the music that extra oomph. The featured songs are classic Bob’s Burgers. They’re the perfect combination of catchy, silly, layered, gross, weird, and emotionally resonant. The portion of the opening number, “Sunny Side Up Summer,” that belongs to Louise is incredibly poignant and true to the character’s hidden vulnerability. These songs make an incredible addition to the already glowing canon of great songs from the show.

Many dismiss the talents of an actor in a vocal performance, but none should doubt the prowess of the incomparable Kristen Schaal. She has added so much to the character of Louise over the years. In The Bob’s Burgers Movie, Schaal brings the full range of who Louise is as a person to bear. With Schaal’s talent behind the microphone, Louise is a fully fledged person. Schaal brings life, joy, and song to the role. The whole family gets a chance to shine in the film, but it’s Louise who steals every scene and Schaal whose performance shines through.

It’s true that in Bob’s Burgers fashion, every member of the family is a part of the story and the story of The Bob’s Burgers Movie has everything. The plot is a mix of rapid fire comedy, mystery/thriller, coming of age, and a family economic drama. The credited writers Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith bring the kind of tight plots we expect from the show as well as a bit of fan reward around every corner. They don’t stop to explain everything to those new to the Belchers, but are able to work years of history into some throw away and accessible lines. If there was one disappointing thing within the plot, and a small mark on an otherwise perfect film, it’s that the mystery plot feels much like a previous plot used in the show and resolves a little like that original plot. It’s different enough to still be enjoyable, but a small let down nonetheless.

There’s enough in The Bob’s Burgers Movie to satisfy the die-hards, the casual watchers, and the neophytes alike. It’s hilarious, joyous, and extremely heartfelt. The best thing about the Belchers, whether they’re on the big screen or the small, is that they’re a family who supports and loves each other no matter what. They may make each other crazy sometimes, but at the end of it all, they’re family and they’re there for one another. The Bob’s Burgers Movie is the perfect meal for any movie goer.

Grade: A


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