Even for those who weren’t fans of the original (and still ongoing) series or haven’t even seen it, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is a real delight. This consistently humorous and whimsical take on the genre of film music that finds the perfect sweet spot between goofy and endearing to become one of the most exhilarating films of the year.
On a summer night, the Belchers find themselves in an increasingly difficult situation: a sinkhole has opened right in front of their burger joint, leaving Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) desperate to make payment on their equipment. Their three children — the clumsy Tina (Dan Mintz), the goofy Gene (Eugene Mirman), and the chaotic Louise (Kristen Schaal) — are already facing their own personal problems when they decide to try and solve the mystery to help their parents. . In the process, they discover a decades-old secret surrounding their owner Calvin Fischoeder (Kevin Kline) that could be the key to saving a business or destroying a family.
The film finds time for the entire cast, but its real emotional plot is Louise. A brash and bombastic little girl, her confidence is called into question when other students call her a baby for never taking off her beloved bunny ear hat. Schaal is the film’s MVP, going from overly funny to downright, downright vulnerable in a moment, keeping Louise at the heart of the film even as Tina has a crush on Jimmy Pesto Jr., Gene’s musical ambitions, or Bob and Linda’s attempts to keep Their stores endured taking the front line for a while.
Music is undeniably an important aspect of the original series, with many episodes featuring silly little tunes. This film is a musical, though one that plays out with format and reason so strong in the real world that it adds to the odd furore. Every song and dance number stiffened, adding to the laughter. The villain song in the third act is a particular highlight — a wacky, goofy dance choreography moment from someone who’s clearly inexperienced and bad at it. It’s this mundane quality that contrasts sharply with the more whimsical characters and comedy, elevating the film and providing plenty of laughs — with plenty of Easter eggs for fans that ultimately don’t distract from the film’s story.
The film also looks gorgeous, with the main team behind the show delivering intentionally blunt animation with simple but real fluidity. Series creator Loren Bouchard wrote the film with Nora Smith and directed the film with Bernard Derriman, bringing the familiarity and love of the series to a new format. It feels very much in line with the show but with a bit of added subtlety to their actions. As the film moves, it moves — with some really impressive lighting and visual tricks that help make the film’s darker moments really stand out. Even at its darkest, The Bob’s Burger’s Movie remains a humorous and endearing film, especially since it fully digs into Louise’s storyline and uses it to help push the overall plot forward.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie will have audiences grinning widely, with infectious songs stuck in their heads and soft spots in their hearts. It’s just a fun, good film that doesn’t take itself too seriously but never demeans the characters in the process. It’s a delicate balancing act, but one that filmmakers confidently — benefit from the trust that television has been able to provide for more than a decade. Whether viewers watch the show based on it or not, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is definitely worth a theater visit.
Watch The Bob’s Burgers Movie in theaters May 27.