“Bob’s Burgers” makes the journey to the big screen, a dozen years into its TV run, its rat-a-tat banter, goofy production numbers and screwball dilemmas faced with doom and ditzy optimism by its chinless-to-a-one animated cast intact.
It plays like bubbly fan service bon bon to its loyal devotees, the folks who don’t forget what time it’s on every week and don’t have any meaningful boycott of Fox they’d care to adhere to. Then again, maybe they’re bingeing it on Cartoon Network.
As somebody who’s never gotten into it — at least past any given episode’s first commercial break — I found “The Bob’s Burger Movie” a pleasant surprise. They step up the quality of the animation, although that TV cost-saving crutch of having a couple of actors with too-distinctive voices do too many characters gets magnified on a big screen, surround sound and 100 minutes of story.
Once again, the beach town burger joint is in jeopardy. Once again, the dogged Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) is overwhelmed, upbeat wife Linda (John Roberts, the good one, not the democracy-gutting one) is…upbeat if not all that helpful. It’s up to the kids — hormonal eighth grader Tina (Dan Mintz), delusionally dorky Eugene (Eugene Mirman) and their bunny-eared younger ring-leader, nine-year-old Louise (Kristen Schaal) to save the day.
This time, the predicament involves a sink hole in front of the shop, a bank loan due, their dismissive eye-patched landlord (Oscar winner Kevin Kline) and a skeleton found at the bottom of said sinkhole.
The plot’s cartoon cute and sitcom silly, and it’s perfectly serviceable. But it’s the characters and their rapid RAPID fire exchanges, comebacks and zingers that are the special sauce on this “Burger.”
Louise is mocked at school for her bunny ears, called a “baby,” and thus must act extra tough, and publicize the hell out of her own toughening up efforts. She will go INTO the sink hole, because “you know what they say.”
“‘Babies’ come OUT of holes, they don’t go IN them!”
The landlord might be placated by the right amount of begging.
“I’m of TWO minds…and by that I mean I’m DRUNK.”
The corpse Louise encounters buried in that sinkhole was plainly “Murdered to death and buried to death by a murderer and a buryer!”
And she freaks out when she accidentally swallows one of the skeleton’s teeth. Brother Gene takes pity on her.
“You can’t HANDLE the tooth!”
To find out whodunit, the kids will have to cut school and visit “CarnyOpolis” — the neighborhood where the local tourist trap hustlers congregate.
There’ll be chases, cliffhangers, songs and dances among the carnies, but also duets of longing and hope by Bob and Linda, and intrepid efforts by their most loyal, loving customer — blue collar Teddy (Larry Murphy).
“I can’t LIVE…if living is without you!”
No, it’s not particularly cinematic. It’s not a must that you catch this on the big screen. But if you’re a fan of the show, or have the faintest inkling that you could be one, you should. It’s not deep or all that sophisticated. Yet it’s always quick, and often damned funny.
“What’s THIS thing?”
“Ah yes, my old organ.”
Rating: PG-13 for rude/suggestive material and language
Cast: The voices of H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, Kevin Kline, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Zach Galifianakis, David Wain, Gary Cole, Nick Kroll, Keegan Michael Key, many others
Credits: Directed by Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman, scripted by Nora Smith, Jim Dauterive and Loren Bouchard. A 20th Century release.
Running time: 1:42