The Bob’s Burgers Movie is definitely more for the fans of the TV show, but there’s plenty here to enjoy for everyone.
Adult animation is a whole world of its own. The Simpsons is a classic, of course. Family Guy is wildly popular and if you ask me, American Dad is underrated. Bob’s Burgers however, seems to have a very loyal fan-base but nowhere near as big a cultural impact.
It is still one of the few animated series for adults to be getting its own movie and surprisingly, it works pretty well. It probably helps if you’re familiar with the show and the characters, unlike I was, heading in. I have a nagging feeling I missed some of the inside jokes and references but The Bob’s Burgers Movie works very well independently too, so don’t be scared to go watch it if you’re not a die hard fan of the TV show.
Bob and Linda Belcher have a lot going on; they need the bank to approve their loan extension and they need their landlord to waive rent for the next month, but things get extra complicated after a sinkhole opens up in front of their burger restaurant. When a body is discovered in the hole and their landlord Calvin Fischoeder is arrested, leaving the family in deep trouble, the Belcher kids take it upon themselves to discover who really was behind the murder.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie isn’t exactly going to alter your world view, nor is it probably going to make you rush to watch the TV show, but it is a fun little film. It’s been marketed as a musical and while there are songs that are excellent, there aren’t enough of them to make Bob’s Burgers qualify as a full-blown musical. It’s disappointing, because the songs that are there are unique and funky, a little weird, but also perfect.
There’s plenty of pop culture references to go around, which gives the film the accessible quality it needs. Anyone can enjoy Bob’s Burgers on a surface level, but it’s probably most rewarding to those who are long-term fans. But even so, the film does seem like just a very long episode. It doesn’t really challenge the characters or take them away from their usual environment.
Bob’s Burgers also looks like it belongs on a smaller screen. Nothing here is particularly cinematic and it’s unclear why this story deserved a feature film length release. It definitely runs a little long, there just isn’t enough for all the characters to do, but it’s also delightful in its simplicity.
The story is streamlined and easy to follow, without any extra mumbo-jumbo to make it more complicated. It spells out the themes early and clearly. They’re nothing particularly profound, but Louise’s quest to find her inner bravery is particularly relatable.
The film also seems a little safe at times. It’s never quite as outrageous or laugh-out-loud funny as it clearly wants to be. There are good jokes, but they all induce a chuckle, rather than a full belly laugh. There’s nothing particularly memorable about the film, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Not every film has to be a major event or the best film in the world. There’s an art to the three star film. Three stars is always a recommendation and we heartily recommend Bob’s Burgers, while also recognising that it could have been more.