The list of sitcoms that inspired movies is a short one. This week that exclusive list grows by one as “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” joins other animated shows like “South Park” and “The Simpsons” to make the leap from the small to big screen.
In what could be a supersized episode of the television show with a musical, murder mystery twist, the movie begins a week before the start of summer. The socially awkward daughter Tina (Dan Mintz) is hoping to hook up with her fantasy summer boyfriend. Son Gene (Eugene Mirman) hopes his latest musical invention, a napkin holder equipped with plastic forks, will be just the sound his band, The Itty Bitty Ditty Committee, needs to finally break through to audiences and after a classmate calls her a “baby,” youngest daughter Louise (Kristen Schaal) is determined to prove that she is grown up and brave.
Parents Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda Belcher (John Roberts) have bigger issues. “Every day I give myself a little diarrhea from the worry and the stress,” Bob sings in the movie’s first big musical number. They have seven days to get a loan extension from the bank or they could lose their beloved burger joint.
When a giant sinkhole opens up directly in front of their business they ask landlord, wealthy oddball Calvin Fischoeder (Kevin Kline), for an extension. “I’m of two minds,” he says, “and by that, I mean I’m drunk.”
When the sinkhole becomes a crime scene, a “crime hole” they call it, their problems increase but an investigation by the kids may lead to a solution… or maybe something worse.
With the main creative crew and cast returning from the television series, it comes as no surprise that “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” has the same kind of irreverent, funny and punny dialogue that makes the show and characters such a delight for twelve seasons. “Bob’s” aficionados should get the fan service they expect while newcomers should catch on to the vibe with ease.
It’s not all special sauce and sesame seed buns, though. The big musical number off the top is pretty great. It separates the movie from the small screen edition, with cool animated choreography and clever lyrics. Unfortunately, after that, it’s as if director Loren Bouchard left the rest of the musical score at home. There is a song or two later, one with a great “misdemeanors and wieners” rhyme, but the promise of something different, something cinematic, is by-and-large dashed.
Pacing problems make the final section, a far-too-long action, adventure sequence, a bit of a slog that sucks some of the fun out of the story. Still, like they say, the only bad burger is the one you didn’t eat, and up until then, “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” isn’t bad. It has enough laughs and clever dialogue to whet your appetite.