Keeping it 100, I’ve never seen an episode of Bob’s Burgers. However, I ADORED The Simpsons growing up, and I remember the sheer glee I had in 2007, when the Simpsons Movie came out in theatres. It was a confirmation of the time investment, and the importance the show had in forming my comedic coming of age. I hope the Bob’s Burgers’s stans feel the same way I did in 2007, and I was excited to see this, with Bob’s Burgers labeled the loving descendant of the Simpsons. Coming in cold, there’s enough good in there that my interest was piqued, which I can only hope means it blew away the Burger fans.
For ignoramuses like me, Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin) and his wife Linda (John Roberts) run Bob’s Burgers, a restaurant on Ocean Avenue in a seaside town. The Belchers have 3 kids: teenage Tina (Dan Mintz) is an awkward teen eager to break out of her shell for some summer romance; tweer Gene (Eugene Mirman) is hoping to revive his band, the Itty Bitty Ditty Committee, and 9 year old Louise (Kristen Schaal) is hoping to prove she isn’t a baby anymore despite wearing those rabbit ears she’s famous for. After being informed their loan isn’t approved, Bob and Linda ask for help from their landlords Calvin (Kevin Kline) and Felix (Zach Galifanakis) Fischoeder, who “politely” deny their request, leaving them 30 days to raise the money or the restaurant closes. Throw in a sinkhole here, carnies there, and the requisite 30 year old unsolved murder, and doggone, you got yourself a movie!
Or a really long Bob’s Burgers episode, which is basically what this movie is. If you treat the movie like an episode, then some characters get the main story, and some characters get relegated to side quests. So apologies to the Tina and Gene fans: big sis and big bro are mostly along for the ride. I was particularly bummed with Tina’s relegation, as the pieces I saw made me really excited to see a bigger story for her because of how funny, awkward and sweet they are, what I assume is the essence of the show. Fortunately, that same essence oozes through Louise’s storyline, a wonderful mix of strange, zany, amusing, and shockingly heartfelt for a character known to be more emotionless. Louise in The Bob’s Burgers Movie essentially drives the plot forward on her little 9 year old shoulders, through its abundance of strange twists, turns, locations, and action setpieces, eyerolling and not wanting to be called a baby along the way. She’s probably the winner of Biggest Belch…er for me.
Meanwhile, the other half of the story is your basic husband/wife sitcom, with Bob and Linda trying to raise more revenue to pay their rent on time. The story itself is pretty sparse compared to Louise’s shenanigans, but what isn’t is H. Jon Benjamin and John Roberts’s chemistry as the heads of the Belcher clan. You see instantly why Bob and Linda work as a comic pair, with Bob’s malaise and self-loathing refusing to drag down the bubbly effervescent East coast “it’s Summah” Linda, try as hard as he might. And when this sort of plot dynamic runs its course, creator/writer Loren Bouchard slams the plots together, giving us that fun Belcher family dynamic that lets everyone cook especially with a lobster chase under a carnival pier.
I could elaborate, but honestly its more fun if you just go and see The Bob’s Burgers Movie. As someone who went in cold, I found it pretty easy to settle into unnamed seaside town, next to the ever changing restaurant for sale, and sit down at Bob’s Burgers for a 100 minute smile train. Plus, if you’re lucky, you might get played out by the Itty Bitty Ditty Committee!