The Bob’s Burgers Movie

While Bob (voice of H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda Belcher (voice of John Roberts) worry about getting an extension on the bank loan they needed for restaurant equipment, their children are all wrapped up in their own dramas.  Eldest Tina (voice of Dan Mintz) is lost in her usual romantic fantasies concerning Jimmy Jr. (also Benjamin), the son of her dad’s biggest rival.  Gene (voice of Eugene Mirman) dreams of premiering the musical instrument he’s concocted out of a napkin holder and plastic spoon on the Wonder Wharf’s big stage.  Louise (voice of Kristen Schaal), afraid of losing her rabbit ear hat when challenged with the Dead Man’s Drop by Chloe Barbash (voice of "Encanto's" Stephanie Beatriz), is devastated by being tagged a baby.  Then a massive sinkhole opens in front of the restaurant, and, in trying to prove her bravery, Louise uncovers the body of a murdered carny and the entire Belcher family becomes involved in uncovering the mystery in “The Bob’s Burgers Movie.”

Laura's Review: B-

Back in 2007, the anchor of Fox’s Sunday night animation lineup, ‘The Simpsons,’ was given the big screen treatment.  It is telling that there was never a followup.   Fifteen years later, the studio is trying again, this time with the network’s even quirkier Belcher family and, unfortunately, the results are lesser than the first time around.  Fans of the series will likely embrace the film, familiarity integral to enjoyment of its oddball twists and turns, but those unfamiliar are unlikely to give it a second chance, a shame, as the Belchers and the other denizens of their Jersey shore town are weirdly wonderful.

Surprisingly, codirectors, Loren Bouchard ('Bob's Burgers' creator, writer) and Bernard Derriman (TV's 'Bob's Burgers') do little with a couple of Bob’s running gags, like the new business next door which goes out of business every week during the show’s opening credits.  Even Bob’s burger of the day only gets a mention.  Instead Bouchard concocts a murder mystery that ties in to the Belchers’ financial difficulties, one designed to include as many characters, including new ones, as possible, and it’s all a little too serious even if studded with several elaborate song and dance numbers.

So, as Bob plunges into his usual doom-laden worry, his cheerleader Linda dons Gene’s hamburger costume, adorning it with a polka-dot bikini to drum up illegal business on the wharf while their restaurant is blocked off using the pushcart engineered by their most loyal (and needy) customer Teddy (voice of Larry Murphy).  After arresting Wonder Wharf owner, the Belchers’ landlord Calvin Fischoeder (voice of Kevin Kline), as the prime suspect, Sgt. Bosco (voice of Gary Cole) is continuously made to look foolish by Louise, whose snooping around Carneyopolis and Felix Fischoeder’s (voice of Zach Galifianakis) tree house has given her a better lead.  After a ticking clock chase scene within the secret, inner depths of Wonder Wharf, each and every Belcher will succeed in achieving his or her goal.  And yes, after learning the genesis of Louise’s iconic pink bunny ear hat, she will drop it, although only Mr. Frond (voice of David Herman), Ms. LaBonz (Benjamin again) and her classmates will witness her without it, our view from behind cut off at shoulder height.

As with “The Simpsons Movie,” the cinematic version of “Bob’s Burgers” seems more vibrant, using such filmic devices as reflective and spatial overhead shots.  The vocal cast includes a number of celebrity cameos.  Sexual innuendo goes into overdrive from Teddy telling Bob to ‘grab his meat’ to the One Eyed Snakes motorcycle gang.  Original songs are as goofy as ever from the early ‘The Sunny Side of Summer of My Life’ to Gene’s triumphant Itty Bitty Ditty Committee concert. 

Robin's Review: B-

Our favorite burger-slinging Belchers are in dire straits. They have just seven days to make the next payment to the bank or lose everything. Then, a giant sink hole opens up right in front of their restaurant and things go from bad to worse for the family in “The Bob’s Burger Movie.”

If you ask the question: Why “The Bob’s Burger Movie”? My response is – why not? The Belcher family, Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), Linda (John Roberts), Tina Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Louise (Kristen Schaal), have been flipping burgers and making us laugh since we first met them back in 2011.

The show runners take the logical next step for animated TV comedies – go feature length. We have seen it since the 1960s with “The Flintstones,” “The Jetsons” and, of course, “The Simpsons” with the “The Simpsons Movie (2007).” Was there a reason for pumping up a cartoon franchise into a feature? Sure, to make more money. Are they necessary, probably not and that applies to “The Bob’s Burger Movie.”

Aside from the financial woes that plague Bob and Linda, Louise faces peer pressure at school for wearing her bunny-ear hat, Tina’s hormones are in an uproar over Jimmy Jr. and Gene is working to get a gig for his band, The Itty Bitty Ditty Committee. Oh and the sinkhole turns out to be a crime site for the murder of carny worker, Cotton Candy Dan, years before, so toss in a murder mystery, too.
That is a lot to pack into an hour and 43 minutes, maybe too much as the stories jump back and forth from one plot to the next – and there are more than the ones I mentioned. It is entertaining and funny, in a very familiar way, and I guess that is enough to draw the fans. I think I get more pleasure from the TV series, though.

20th Century Studios opens "The Bob's Burger Movie" in theaters on 5/25/22.