It’s surprisingly reassuring to see how little of the show’s DNA has changed in its transition to the big screen
Para você: Loren Bouchard, Bernard Derriman. Estrelando: H Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal. PG, 102 minutos.
Bob’s Burgers has always felt unique in its relative ordinariness. The revered but semi-niche animated series’ onscreen compatriots – Os Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill – have always mined the grotesque heart of the American nuclear family for the purposes of satire, surrealism, and cartoon violence. The Belcher family, Contudo, function less like a dysfunctional unit trapped under the same roof, and more like an assorted clan of weirdos who only happen to be blood-related. They actually like each other, and are surprisingly harmonious in their eccentricities. Over the course of 12 seasons, the show has served up little half-hour collective struggles: the Belchers versus the world. They only want to be themselves. Escolas, bills, and other responsibilities keep getting in the way.
As for its feature-length extrapolation? What a relief it is – a franchise where the universe isn’t at stake. At no point does The Bob’s Burgers Movie – which is co-directed by show creator Loren Bouchard and long-time supervising director Bernard Derriman – ever feel compelled to justify its existence. It’s the first hand-drawn film released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in more than a decade. But there’s no ante to be upped, no groundwork to be laid. Its alien invaders exist only in the dreams of Belcher middle child Gene (voiced by Eugene Mirman) – they swoop down to Earth to ask his band, the Itty Bitty Ditty Committee, to stop playing because the music is hurting their teeth. The sole apocalyptic threat comes from the sexy zombies that Gene’s sister, Tina (Dan Mintz), won’t stop fantasising about.
When the Simpsons made their leap to the big screen in 2007, we were threatened with the wholesale destruction of their hometown of Springfield. Mas The Bob’s Burgers Movie confronts the Belchers with the same old problems – Bob (H Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) risk losing their burger place if they can’t make their loan payments on time, a fact complicated by the arrest of their landlord Calvin Fischoeder (Kevin Kline) for the decades-old murder of a carnival worker. The youngest Belcher, Louise (Kristen Schaal), stumbles across the skeleton of one Cotton Candy Dan after she tumbles into the sinkhole that’s formed outside the restaurant – she’s desperate to prove to the popular girls that she’s no baby, even if she’s worn the same rabbit-eared hat since she was three years old.
Gene, Enquanto isso, is convinced that his new instrument (a napkin holder with two spoons, held together by rubber bands) will “revolutionise American pop music”. Tina is starting to have doubts that Jimmy Jr (also voiced by Benjamin), despite having the butt of her dreams, is really everything she wants from a summer boyfriend.
Really, there’s nothing here that would feel out of place in a regular episode. There are a few more character cameos, and three jaunty musical numbers. Some of the pans through the Belchers’ seaside community are a little more sweeping than usual. But it’s surprisingly reassuring to see how little of the show’s DNA has changed, uncorrupted by the temptations of Hollywood filmmaking.
Bob’s Burgers is a lovely, humble show that can poke fun at class divides and worker exploitation – Calvin and his brother Felix Fischoeder (Zach Galifianakis) first rock up in a golf cart drinking champagne out of bendy straws – while constantly undercutting any real sense of antagonistic threat. No one in this world is actively cruel, but they are clueless, and that can cause just as much trouble. It’s a worldview that’s pretty fitting for a show that’s never overlaboured its punchlines. Some of the funniest lines here are quick asides – such as the way Gene quietly repeats the words “crime hole” to himself – which are delivered by a cast who, at this point, could probably do this stuff in their sleep. And if they did? I wouldn’t begrudge it. The Bob’s Burgers Movie proves that more of the same is sometimes the very best thing.
‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ is in cinemas from Friday 27 Maio