Bob’s Burgers is one of the most beloved animated series in existence. With 12 seasons and a 13th on its way, the show has captured a steady fanbase over the years, and its latest outing – The Bob’s Burgers Movie, doesn’t disappoint. Full of charm, spectacle and familiar humour, Fox’s comedy movie manages to strike an admirable balance between fan service and stand-alone quality – resulting in a new captivating story down on Ocean Avenue.
Directed by Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman, The Bob’s Burgers Movie feels almost like a classic episode of the long-running TV series. It follows the adventures of the Belcher family and their restaurant as they struggle to stay afloat, while also coming together to deal with the trials and tribulations that come along with growing up, marriage, and being a close-knit family.
However, despite holding the same essence of the series that came before it, The Bob’s Burgers Movie does mark itself as different thanks to a subtle twist: the stakes have never been higher. While the junk food musical incorporates the light-hearted and fun family dynamic that the IP has become associated with over the years, it also thrusts viewers into a surprisingly dark whodunnit story, with a murderer stalking the quiet seaside community.
Opening with the action from the get-go, the film begins with a flashback to six years ago on a quiet night down at the Wonder Wharf, the carnival on the pier owned by the eccentric Mr Fischoeder.
In the shadowy callback, we witness a mystery figure taking a fatal beating, but as the film quickly flicks back to the present day, it seems like the victim never got his justice…that is until a massive sinkhole outside the Belcher family’s restaurant appears.
That’s right, our patriarchy fry cook Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), as usual, can’t seem to catch a break. The loud and charming family have their work cut out for them as the bank threatens to close down the Belcher’s restaurant in seven days.
However, just as summer vacation is about to kick off and potentially save the business, a massive sinkhole appears in front of the restaurant. Things get worse once a skeleton of an old carnie is found in said sinkhole and the outside of the family business becomes an active crime scene.
With the help of his wife Linda (John Roberts), and long-time customer/friend Teddy (Larry Murphy), Bob must find a way to sell some burgers before it is too late.
However, his children Louise (Kristen Schaal), Tina (Dan Mintz), and Gene (Eugene Mirman) are adamant about discovering the truth of the murder, and eventually, the whole family finds themselves facing a life and death situation.
Written by Bouchard and Nora Smith, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is packed with titbits that longtime fans will enjoy. The script does a deep dive into the psyche of the Belcher children, unpacking fears and insecurities that we have only glimpsed in the show’s prior twelve seasons.
Moments such as Louise’s dependency on her pink ears, Gene’s anxiety about his music, and Tina confronting the reality of her fantasy version of Jimmy Jr. are narrative goldmines that any hardcore fan will appreciate.
However, this self-referential strength proves to be one of The Bob’s Burgers Movie’s major weaknesses. Don’t get me wrong, the story of The Bob’s Burgers Movie is fun and punchy enough to stand on its own right. But, saying that, it is hard to imagine how someone unfamiliar with the series will appreciate the film in its entirety.
If you aren’t clued in with the latest seasons, the film may appear slow-moving at points, as there are inside jokes and iconic characters who take up lengthy amounts of screen time. For instance, melted Kuchi Kopi from season 7 makes an appearance and has a long chat with Louise as she goes through a mental crisis after a certain incident on the playground.
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In this way, The Bob’s Burgers Movie falls into the same trap that many feature films spawned from TV series face – it becomes limited by its own history. As I said above, the film still works as a stand-alone feature, but it arguably only breaches the status of fantastic if you know the world prior to seeing it.
However, saying that, whether you have seen all the episodes of Bob’s Burgers or none, there is no denying the absolute wholesomeness that watching this movie will impart on your soul.
Seeing the characters break out into Broadway-style-esque musical numbers, delivering campy and quick-witted punchlines, and coming together as a family through thick and thin, is smile-inducing. The voice cast ensemble does a stellar job of pushing their characters to new heights, as does the art team in crafting a world that seems brighter and more vibrant than the series has ever been.
In short, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is a fan’s dream. It doesn’t necessarily push the envelope or offer a ton of surprises, but it delivers precisely what you expected in a clean and thoroughly entertaining way.
If you are looking for a feel-good, comfy watch to welcome in the summer, then this flick may just be your ideal order…dare I say, even ‘burger of the day’ worthy?
The Bob’s Burgers Movie is set to hit theatres on May 27, 2022.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie review
A wholesome murder mystery that gives you exactly what you expected and wanted out of a Bob’s Burgers feature.