For 12 seasons and 200 episodes since 2011, Bob’s Burgers has been a staple of Fox’s animated series lineup. If not quite the powerhouse of The Simpsons (that iconic family has been on three times as long), clearly 20th Century and its new landlord Disney thought it had the same big-screen potential to make the leap from TV to theaters. So, following in the steps of The Simpsons Movie we now have The Bob’s Burgers Movie. As long as Fox doesn’t try to push The Tucker Carlson Movie on us anytime soon, I am down with the Murdochs cashing in on their TV properties for theatrical play as long as they are as charmingly and cleverly constructed as this one is. “Get Your Buns in the Theatre” is the clever ad line the studio is using, and the good news is this concoction is actually more fun for adults than even kids.
For all who know and love this franchise that revolves around the Belcher family, proprietors of the local diner Bob’s Burgers, rest assured creator Loren Bouchard, who crafted the screenplay with Nora Smith and directs with Bernard Derriman, has not messed much with the what makes the series tick. This clan is what they are. There is Bob (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) trying to make ends meet in his modest little business, with wife Linda (voiced by John Roberts) juggling the books to make sure they don’t go broke. There is also boy-crazy older daughter Tina (Dan Mintz’s voice — don’t they want women to get work?) who has her sights set on Jimmy Jr, while likeable Gene (Eugene Mirman) tends to his band. Best of all is pink hat-wearing Louise (Kristen Schaal), the youngest and most curious family member, and she is a driving force on the main plot cooked up to justify this strictly theatrical offering to kick off summer.
The trouble starts when a giant sinkhole completely eliminates the walk-up entrance to Bob’s Burgers, making access awkward (only via the back alley) and future business questionable. While this is a big problem, an even bigger one emerges when Louise inadvertently unearths a skeletal body as she explores the sinkhole’s depths. Yikes! Turns out this re-opens a true unsolved murder mystery that becomes quite the tangled web, thrusting the Belchers — as well as their longtime landlord Mr. Fischoeder — right in the center of it. But putting her best Nancy Drew act to the test, Louise leads the gang in getting to the bottom of it all, and there is more than one suspect in their midst, as well as the noirish location of the Wonder Wharf added to all the questions piling up around town.
Of course, this being Bob’s Burgers, a show known for its musical diversions, this movie is full of witty songs and merriment to match the mystery and action. The script is deadpan witty, and the old-fashioned 2D animated visual style is right on the money.
Check out my video review above for the movie, which Disney opens in theaters (imagine that for a TV property) on Friday.
Do you plan to see Bob’s Burgers? Let us know what you think.
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