One of Corner of Film’s most anticipated releases of 2022, The Bob’s Burgers Movie went through a long and arduous production. Plagued by delays caused by the pandemic, it seemed for a time that the movie would never release. First announced as far back as 2017, its first scheduled release date in 2020 flew past with barely a mention of the film’s progress. Fast forward another two years, and The Bob’s Burgers Movie finally arrived in all its majesty.
Following on from a beloved animated series with a movie is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the movie is guaranteed to reach something of audience, but on the other, the change of format risks losing something in translation. For example, The Simpsons Movie was a financial success, but it didn’t fully capture the same magic of The Simpsons‘ best years, and therefore it suffered in comparison. However, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut managed to distill the best elements of South Park into a longer story with a musical spin, and it proved a hit with fans.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie faced similar challenges, except they were compounded by the delays in production and the increased anticipation for the film. Bob’s Burgers has such a distinct style of both animation and humor that The Bob’s Burgers Movie had an awful lot to live up to, particularly as losing either one could have proved disastrous. Within mere minutes of the film’s opening, these concerns are instantly dispelled.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie quickly sets about establishing a story of perfect scope. It’s familiar territory: the restaurant is in jeopardy, the Belcher kids are preparing for an escapade that sees them each facing a personal crisis, and Bob and Linda are doing their best to balance their marriage, their role as parents and their restaurant. It’s a well-considered approach, because it feels like an extended episode of the show, just with slightly sleeker animation.
One of the best elements of The Bob’s Burgers Movie is its musical numbers. They aren’t overused – in fact, they’re dotted fairly sparsely throughout the film – but each one is a perfectly crafted blend of story and flashy, complex animation wrapped up in a catchy and inherently funny tune. Every song is treated as an opportunity to impress with both visual spectacle and genuine comedy, and this is something that helps the movie feel like an enhanced experience rather than an overlong episode of Bob’s Burgers.
There’s also a mystery at the heart of The Bob’s Burgers Movie that is treated similarly. It’s intriguing, but it’s also filled with twists and turns so bizarre that it fits perfectly within the Belcher’s world. There are one or two frills that help to flesh things out, but at no point does The Bob’s Burgers Movie‘s story feel ostentatious or overwritten. There’s an appropriate amount of every aspect, and everything is colored by consistent small moments of laugh-out-loud comedy – usually in the form of brilliantly bizarre one-liners or throwaway pieces of dialogue – and that makes The Bob’s Burgers Movie a deeply rewarding experience.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie is able to perfectly nail the feel of the show without being overly dependent upon it. It’s both for die-hard fans and newcomers, because its story is open and straightforward without too many crammed-in references to previous Bob’s Burgers stories. In short, it’s an easy watch, encapsulating the carefree feeling of summer even in its murder-mystery story and looming threat of the Belchers’ impending financial ruin. There’s not a massive amount of depth to The Bob’s Burgers Movie, and that’s okay, because it thoroughly excels at what it does do in practically every way.
Summary: The Bob’s Burgers Movie achieves a particularly tricky feat: it lives up to Bob’s Burgers‘ success even as it alters the format enough to feel fresh and exciting. It’s a film that’s clear about its purpose, and doesn’t try anything above its station, delivering one of the best animated comedies in a long while.
Highlights: The musical numbers are excellent, but the Carniapolis sequence is so brilliantly and hilariously animated that it stands out as one of the film’s finest moments.