Summer fun with the Belchers

Photo courtesy of Disney–ABC Domestic Television | Louise, Gene, Bob, Tina and Linda Belcher

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie” feels a lot like the show, which is a good thing.

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is finally here, just in time to bring a smile to your face before finals. When a pipe bursts and creates a massive sinkhole in front of the restaurant, the Belcher family struggles to keep the restaurant open, all while solving a murder.

“Bob’s Burgers” is a movie meant for fans of the show, with little inside jokes and bit characters appearing throughout. With the number of characters, it would be easy to fall into the trap of trying to give them each something funny to say, only for it to get nauseating by the end. Yet, it never feels out of focus. The cameos are largely there to establish continuity with the show rather than show off or distract from the core characters’ story lines.

Some of those story lines certainly work better than others. The movie tries to give each Belcher a piece of the main plot, but it has a real difficulty working Tina and Gene in without it feeling forced. Both characters have their moments, but the focus is clearly on Bob (and by proxy, Linda) and Louise. They take the lead in almost every song, and deal with their anxieties, which make them lovable and relatable, in amusing ways.

Some of the side characters really shine as well. Teddy is his usual endearing self, while the Fischoeder brothers, voiced by Kevin Kline and Zach Galifianakis, seize the spotlight every chance they get. Their knack for turning troubling statements about illegal activities into comedy gold is used frequently. Luckily, after 12 seasons and a movie, it still hasn’t gotten old.

It would be impossible to make a “Bob’s Burgers” movie without adding creative songs, but some work better than others. The opening song pairs optimism and anxious poops together in a brilliant way, whereas the second to last song is a bit grating with its use of falsetto. The carnie song in the middle is peak “Bob’s Burgers” songwriting, even if I’m upset that Bill Hader is no longer voicing Mickey, the bank robber turned carnie.

“Bob’s Burgers” is not looking to do something truly bold and different. They stick to their strengths, which makes this feel like you’re just watching several episodes of the show in a row. The stakes are raised a little bit with money problems threatening to close the restaurant, which is a frequent storyline in the show, and a murder that the kids get way too involved in. The only thing that really separates it from the show is the animation feels more digital than normal. The characters look mostly the same, but the background is distractingly clear. Every business name-pun in the city suddenly feels like it has a neon display that you can’t miss, whereas the show tends to be a bit more subtle. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does feel slightly off.

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie” does not separate itself from the show in any meaningful way, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The writers know what they do well and so they do just that. With fun songs, family bonding through hijinks, and a focused plot, “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is sure to make you smile without feeling at all taxing. 

Star Rating: 4\5
[“The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is available only in theaters.]

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