‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ review: a meaty treat for fans and newcomers alike

The much-loved adult animation gets its big-screen moment: thankfully, it's not 'The Belchers in Space'

Bob’s Burgers isn’t the filthiest or flashiest animated sitcom, but it is one of the funniest. Over 12 seasons – with a 13th on the way – it’s also become one of the most beloved. Storefront puns and daffy sight gags come as standard, but the real meat, if you will, is the relatable family dynamic at the show’s core: patty-flipping dad Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin), endlessly enthusiastic wife Linda (John Roberts) and their three kids are a pleasure to spend half an hour with every week.

Still, this fundamental and relatively understated charm could easily be stretched thin over a feature-length instalment. Wisely, the show’s creator Loren Bouchard – co-writer and co-director here – resists the urge to differentiate The Bob’s Burgers Movie from the TV series by trying anything too outlandish. This isn’t The Belchers in Space or Bob’s Burgers Does the Jungle.

Instead, the film begins with Bob and Linda being denied a loan extension, giving them just seven days to make their next repayment. Things go from bad to abysmal when a burst water main creates a massive sinkhole right in front of their restaurant. How can they sell burgers if customers can’t even get inside?

When a skeleton is found inside that sinkhole, their clueless landlord Calvin Fischoeder (Kevin Kline) becomes the prime suspect. This turns the film into a tongue-in-cheek murder mystery centred on the kitsch amusement park he runs with his pretentious sibling Felix (Zach Galifianakis). It would be a shame to give anything away, but let’s just say the park reveals some hidden depths.

Along the way there are a few more musical numbers than we’re accustomed to, but they have enough witty wordplay not to feel like filler. Sadly, some of the subplots aren’t quite so well executed. Belcher son Gene (Eugene Mirman) is underused and sister Tina (Dan Mintz) is given a rote romantic storyline that gets forgotten about for most of the movie. It’s much more fun following youngest Belcher Louise (Kristen Schaal) as she struggles to prove her bravery after a classmate calls her “the B word” – that’s baby, obviously.

The result isn’t overwhelmingly cinematic, but, then again, it probably doesn’t need to be. If you’re looking for dazzling visuals and epic grandeur, go watch Dune again. The Bob’s Burgers Movie is substantial enough to justify its 102-minute runtime and manages to supersize the show’s appealing recipe without diluting its flavour. It’s a meaty treat that fans and newcomers alike can devour with relish.

Details

  • Director: Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman
  • Starring: H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal
  • Release date: May 27
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