Bob’s Burgers isn’t as deeply woven into the fabric of popular culture as the likes of The Simpsons or Family Guy, but it has carved a place of its own in Fox’s animated lineup for over a decade. And as is the case with some animated shows, its success has finally culminated in a full-length movie simply titled The Bob’s Burgers Movie. Now, after a two-year COVID delay, the fast food family’s first feature is finally hitting cinemas and while it isn’t the strongest entry in the series, it’s still got many of the same qualities of a decent Bob’s Burgers episode.
Directed by series creator Loren Bouchard and longtime series director Bernard Derriman, The Bob’s Burgers Movie sees the Belcher family’s wild kickoff to their summer. Between a sinkhole blocking the entrance to Bob’s Burgers and the family unable to repay loans, the Belcher family is in a tough spot. When a murder mystery comes into play, the kids take it upon themselves to track down the guilty party while Bob and Linda work to keep the restaurant afloat.
The movie has plenty for longtime fans to enjoy — like the origin of Louise’s iconic pink bunny ear hat — but it can also work for newcomers to the franchise. The opening song in this unexpected musical catches audiences up on who each Belcher family member is and their storylines for this movie. The tone remains aligned with the Bob’s Burgers TV show; silly, lighthearted, and occasionally a little gross, but with nice messages of family love.
The characters remain true to their personalities seen on the beloved show, and it’s nice to see Louise — one of the funniest in the lineup that often gets less development in the series — receive her day in the sun. The other two kids, Tina and Gene, are a little one-note with their goals in this movie, but they have plenty of funny lines to make up for it. Linda is also a comedic highlight, a trait emphasized by her confident strut in her burger bikini.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie is more than just a typical comedic romp with the familiar crew, as it is also a musical, too, and most of the songs are meant to deliver exposition. While some episodes of the television series would take on the musical format or include a number or two, it just doesn’t work as well here. The show’s tunes were always somewhat ironic or silly, and while the lyrics in this film’s musical segments are also humorous, they’re more earnest here than those in the show. But the more heartfelt approach is less effective because of the lack of true singing ability (or at least the ability to do so in character) from most of the voice cast.
If the songs weren’t supposed to be taken seriously, this might not be so much of an issue. But they are, so the cast not having the voices to back that up creates some dissonance. Comedy is meant to smooth over less-than-stellar vocal performances, so when they aren’t funny, they’re not as compelling. The songs also just aren’t memorable or as catchy in and of themselves. Fortunately, the musical numbers are fairly few and far between and there are only just enough to classify this as a musical.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie is nothing revolutionary, but it’s still fun, big-screen translation of a celebrated animated series that should please fans of the series and newcomers alike. It takes a “play the hits” approach and doesn’t add much new lore to the Bob’s Burgers universe (beyond the aforementioned hat backstory), but it’s just a pleasant time at the movies, kind of like a nice burger from your favorite restaurant. While this doesn’t “need” to be seen in cinemas, it deserves to be. It has everything fans love about the series — the humor, heart, and absurdity — with amped-up stakes to match the big screen. It’s the perfect start-of-summer movie and it’s great to see an animated film get a theatrical release since so many have been put straight to streaming services as of late.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 7 equates to “Good.” A successful piece of entertainment that is worth checking out, but it may not appeal to everyone.