What They Say:
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.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Nestled on Sundays at Fox – sitting comfortably between “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” – is a show that has been unassuming since it premiered back in 2011: “Bob’s Burgers.” Though officially an ‘adult show’ with moments of edgy humor, the series has developed a small but dedicated audience for its witty humor, catchy songs, and family dynamics that (unlike most adult animated series) are sweet and endearing as opposed to mean spirited. The series has never been laugh-out-loud funny, but it has a dry sense of humor that is so low-key you can’t help but find yourself laughing more often than you’d like to admit. That the family spends each episode supporting one another adds a layer of genuine sweetness that has kept viewers tuning in all these years later.
This isn’t the type of show you would normally watch and anticipate a theatrical motion picture somewhere down the line. Truthfully, you still might not feel that way after watching it. The reality is though that “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is here, you have to pay to see it, and it’s worth paying for because the film being served in theaters can accurately be described as “well-done.” It’s unlikely to be singled out as one of the best films of the year. Despite having Disney’s marketing spending behind it, I anticipate no Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. Sadly, I suspect the film will barely make a dent in theaters; it will likely make around $35 million dollars before bowing on Disney+. I say this not because the movie is bad but because the movie is ‘quiet.’ It’s wonderful to get a movie where the family needs to save their burger business (and the various ways they try to help).
Though Bob could be viewed as a bit of a Debbie Downer by some, his heart is in the right place, and his love for his family is obvious. His wife Linda is the glue that holds the family together, always ready with words of encouragement and a cheerleader dance for her kids. As for the kids themselves…well, they feel like real kids. More so than kids I see in actual movies made for kids. Tina worries about how she’s going to ask a boy to be her boyfriend while her brother Eugene has dreams of playing music on the pier stage. It’s not complicated (but it sure is relatable). Strangely enough, despite the name of the title, the story doesn’t revolve around Bob so much (and his misguided efforts to save his business), but on youngest daughter Louise, who is trying to help her dad save the family business to prove she’s “not a baby anymore.”
She manages to get caught up in a murder mystery that could have major consequences for the family, yet we don’t worry because she seems like the kind of person who can handle something like that. Despite being something that you need to pay for, it is true that the scale of the movie isn’t that much bigger than what you’d find on TV. Some may walk away feeling that they paid to see an “extended episode” rather than a movie it follows the shows low-key charm so well. These viewers will be missing the whole point. First, the quality of animation is a vast improvement over what you see on TV, and that’s always worth seeing on a big screen. What’s more, this is the kind of movie that is fun to watch with an audience. It’s the kind of movie almost anyone can sit in front of and find something funny or charming about it. It’s a rare kind of crowd-pleaser: One that can be enjoyed by all without the need to have heroes in spandex with goofy names.
It’s the kind of movie that is simple in nature but brilliant in execution. It sneaks up on you with how clever it is and the smile on your face almost never goes away. Considering the theater is currently filled with multiverses, haunted houses, and we appear to have dinosaurs and jets on the horizon, a film like “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” makes for a nice, quieter change of pace. There’s nothing too big at stake. There are no mind-bending elements. There’s no sound mixing that makes me put in my Vibes earplugs. Just a funny, good-natured film about a burger cook and his eccentric family. I suppose I must use the pun again (because it’s just that kind of movie): “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is a well-done film!
P.S. For reasons that only our Lord and Savor know, the MPAA has given this mostly family-friendly film a PG-13 rating. It has, essentially, been placed in the same category as “The Batman” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” find themselves in. These are films that involve graphic violence, sexual content, zombies with multiple heads, and deep-rooted corruption. This is a movie about a family bonding over meat. Was Linda’s ‘hamburger bun dance’ really considered so scandalous?