Review: THE BOB'S BURGERS MOVIE Is The Feel-Good Feast You Deserve
The art of adapting an animated series to feature length is a bit of a tricky thing. With twelve seasons of history, there is the danger that the Bob’s Burgers story has been thoroughly told; thankfully that’s not the case here and The Bob’s Burgers Movie is a solid new chapter that earns its big screen presence.
The story begins with the same conceit as many of the episodes, exploring the plight of the common burger man trying to stay afloat. Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin) and his wife Linda (John Roberts) are off to the bank to ask for an extension on a loan. A quick thumbs down from their loan officer means they need to sell a lot of burgers very fast, but a giant sinkhole appears at exactly the wrong time, blocking entrance to their humble shop and putting the Belcher family in a very difficult position: find a way to make more money than they ever have or lose their kitchen equipment and their business.
While Bob, Linda, and their handyman pal Teddy (Larry Murphy) try to find ways to keep the cash and burgers flowing, the Belcher children have their own issues to contend with. Tina (Dan Mintz) is having trouble dealing boys, Gene (Eugene Mirman) is trying to find his next musical evolution, and Louise (Kristen Schaal) is tired of being thought of as a baby. All very typical concerns for kids their age, but this is Bob’s Burgers, so their childish concerns end up having very adult implications for the family, the business, and the entire town.
So far, the film sounds like a typical episode, but The Bob’s Burgers Movie is more than that, it takes everything fans love about the series and makes it meatier for the big screen. In spite of the constant financial struggle facing Bob and his family, the series has always been relentlessly optimistic, even in the face of certain disaster. That positivity has built a fan base who sees in these characters a mirror to their own challenges and quirks, and a way forward even when things are bleak.
The Movie doubles down on the danger, putting the burger shop into existential crisis, but never lets the audience feel hopeless. Fans of the show know that a big part of the appeal is the sometimes-anarchic musical interludes – the series itself has spawned several full-length albums and EPs over the years – and that integral part of the charm is on full display here.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie has the biggest, most intricately written and choreographed songs that the series has ever attempted. From the sprawling opening number in which the entire Belcher family lays out their hopes and dreams for the summer, to an incredibly theatrical chorus of carnies, the songs are bigger and more fleshed out than ever before, thanks to an extended runtime that doesn’t force them to clip themselves off at a minute or so. The animation in these sequences is a bit more fluid and rotoscope-feeling than in the series, which can be a bit jarring at first, but after a minute the shock fades into smiles. The Bob’s Burgers Movie is everything that makes us love the series, but bigger and more.
One of the strengths of the series is in making each central character a strong presence in every episode, no Belcher is less important than another, and the kids are just as fully fleshed out as the parents. The Movie does this even better in most cases, with Bob, Louise, Tina, and Gene all getting clearly delineated conflicts and resolutions, which just leaves Linda as the odd-woman-out. It’s a minor quibble, and not something that bothered me, but with the clarity of everyone else’s stories, it did stick out.
While the Movie is a joyous, juicy feast for Bob’s Burgers fans, it is self-contained enough that newcomers won’t feel alienated. The characters are drawn so perfectly – both literally and literarily – that after a few minutes we know exactly who everyone is and what motivates them, a rarity with many modern films who seem to enjoying hiding their true intentions until the last possible minute. The Bob’s Burgers Movie welcomes its audience with open arms and fills their bellies with delight, devotees will leave feeling sated, neophytes will have a new favorite show and an exciting journey ahead of them catching up on what they’ve missed. What more can you ask for?
The Bob's Burgers Movie
- Loren Bouchard
- Bernard Derriman
- Loren Bouchard
- Jim Dauterive
- Nora Smith
- H. Jon Benjamin
- Kristen Schaal
- Dan Mintz