Bob’s Burgers might be one of the luckiest animated shows of the entire 2010s [currently streaming on Disney+]. Starting out with its okay-but-nothing-all-that-special first season, and its main cast full of Family Guy analogues (shlubby father, housewife with a thing for singing, diabolical schemer for the youngest child, etc.), it was mercifully given the time it needed to figure itself out and find its lane as the character-driven serving of absurdist dad humour that has allowed it to thrive for an additional ten seasons. And now going full Simpsons with a cinematic feature (with a plot that coincidentally also involves a sinkhole), which thankfully carries over everything that makes the show so much fun.
Not only are the Belcher family all as charmingly attention-deficit as ever, the way that their characters are built in the film works both as a continuation of the original show and as a potential introduction for new viewers.
There are references to their past escapades, sure, but with the steps taken in their development (especially with Kristen Schaal as Louise, the aforementioned schemer), what is on-screen sets up and pays off the drama and even ramps up the emotion without feeling like past knowledge is required for the full impact. Hell, not knowing why hunky zombies show up all of a sudden might just boost the comedic value.
Speaking of which, those with a pun allergy might have difficulties getting into this (ditto the original show), but credit to the writers [Loren Bouchard & Nora Smith] and actors for having as close to perfect timing as you can get for these sorts of zingers. With only a scant couple of exceptions, nothing is lingered on to the point of explaining the joke, and if said one-liner didn’t land, there’s about five others coming in right behind it that probably will. It’s all very chuckle-worthy and shows that making comedy out of characters intentionally distracting themselves, works best when it isn’t needlessly protracted. Lessons should be learnt from this.
But this isn’t just the same stuff from the show; the visuals have been properly upgraded to make this cinema worthy. Bento Box Entertainment et al. bring Futurama levels of detail to the animation. This is easily some of the smoothest 2D animation of the last several years, and it really pops during the musical numbers. What’s more, this 2.5D upscaling never clashes with the ‘chinless wonder’ character designs, pulling off the South Park trick of improving without making its own foundation conspicuous.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie is everything that makes the show worth binging, combined with everything needed to make a transition to the big screen worthwhile. There’s nothing too strenuous going on, even with its more emotional moments, and with its high gag ratio, it’s an ideal wind-down movie to kick back, relax, and bite into.