Director(s): Loren Bouchard, Bernard Derriman
Writer(s): Loren Bouchard, Jim Dauterive, Nora Smith
Cast: H. John Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, Dan Mintz
The jump from television to feature film is a feat few shows have even attempted, and one even less has successfully made the transition. This change in scenery requires a lot not only from the creatives behind the project but from the fans that have likely been following along since the beginning.
After 10 seasons and counting, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is the latest jump from small to the big screen. Bringing together the beloved cast, this movie follows the Belchers’ attempt at the best Summer ever. However, they first off have to sing and dance their way past sinkholes, loan extensions, murders, and bullies in an attempt to save their family’s restaurant.
To successfully bring a television show to the big screen, it needs to be one of two things: either after the television run has fully ended, or something that is so far removed from the mainline show that people can enjoy both the film and the show separately. Animated shows have found a way to make the latter of the two work with films like South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, The Simpsons Movie, The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie, and even more recently Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers. Each one of these found a way to bring the essence of the characters that people have come to know and love and give them a much larger, and separate, story that feels different enough to not be just a longer episode.
When it comes to The Bob’s Burgers Movie, there was never that feeling that this could have stood on its own without the show itself. This movie doesn’t just feel like it takes place in the world of the series but is an important part of the series. While the animation does make the jump – the sleek 2D cinematic look was truly exciting to see again on screen – the story felt as though it was still a part of the show. The stakes weren’t raised near enough, giving this the feel of a longer and better-looking episode rather than a full-fledged movie.
Mainly revolving around two separate storylines, the kid’s attempt at solving the murder and the parent’s attempt at making enough money to pay off their loans, the differences between the two are massive. When the focus is on the kids, the film is exciting, funny, and generally enjoyable to watch. The trio of Tina, Gene, and Louise brought excitement and flair, and Tina’s quest for bravery was something to latch on to. However, when it goes back to the parents it slows to a point where, as someone who isn’t a fan, I just wasn’t fully engaged with these characters and story.
As someone who isn’t a fan, I can understand that this might just not have been something, particularly for me. That being said, I think this could have really worked if it had been an independent story separate from the already established “Burgerverse.” Creating something outside of the regularly programmed show – similar to The Simpsons Movie – could have been a good way to engage both fans and non-fans alike.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie is ultimately an acquired taste that fans will eat up more than new viewers. I very much enjoyed parts of this movie, the updated animation and funny moments with the kids truly gave it a cinematic charm, but the story and most of the other characters did not. Fans of the series should find a ton of fun in this film, as it is basically a longer episode of the show, but I’m not sure if this is something casual viewers should race to see.
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.