By Juan Calvillo
“The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is heads and tails the best animated TV show to receive a movie adaptation. Fans of the Fox TV show are in for a treat, and family audiences who are planning an outing can do no better than this comedic coming-of-age film. The best part of the film is the fact that every single character is voiced by the TV show voice talent except for one character.
The movie’s plot is simple: save the family hamburger restaurant. It is the execution of getting from the beginning to the end of the movie that is fun. The movie follows the proprietors of Bob’s Burgers restaurant, the Belcher family, in an attempt to save their eatery. Stumbling blocks pop up from every angle like late loan payments, arrests and coming-of-age issues are all par for the course in the movie’s 102 minute run time.
Audiences do not need to be fans or repeat viewers of the “Bob’s Burgers” TV show to get a kick out of the hilarious writing in the film. With the kids being the stars of the show, the story is full of great moments for each character. The Belcher parents include Bob the dad, voiced by H. Jon Benjamin, and Linda the mom, voiced by John Roberts.
Both Roberts and Benjamin are hilarious in their delivery of their often exasperated lines. The movie does an impressive job with the pair of voice actors by creating character growth and giving the actors room to explore more of the emotional connection Linda and Bob have with each other.
The Belcher children are consistently the comedic focus of the TV show and this doesn’t change for the film. The trio are Louise, Tina and Gene; voiced by Kristen Schaal, Dan Mintz and Eugene Mirman respectively. Each of the children have their own moment in the film, but the most interesting is Louise’s story. Her character is typically no-nonsense and confident, but this film delves deeper into the character than the TV show has had the chance to do. As voice actors, Schaal, Mintz and Mirman are amazing to say the least.
There is a palpable comedic connection between the trio to the point that audiences might even hope they record all their lines together. While Louise’s character has some nice character exploration, Schaal continues to voice the character with a fun mix of anger, contempt and child-like-curiosity. The interactions between the three siblings make for both hilarious and heartfelt moments. It’s this real sense of family that makes the Belcher family so relatable and interesting to watch.
The movie’s story is totally immersive and doesn’t disappoint in the least when it comes to bringing laughs and uniquely familial moments to the animated screen. But this isn’t the only thing that is great about “The Bob’s Burgers Movie.” If the script wasn’t as fantastic as it is, the brand new animation and “pitch” perfect music would have stolen the show, pun intended. With a bigger budget comes the enhanced animation that the movie puts front and center.
The citizens living near idyllic Wonder Wharf, where the show and movie take place, are beautifully animated and colored. The animation makes everything look spectacular, from the family’s restaurant, to the rides at the wharf and all the way to the halls of the Wagstaff Middle School where the kids spend their days. The movie is awash with intense visuals and gorgeous colors, each movement of the camera doesn’t disappoint.
The “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” soundtrack is awesome and deserves as much praise as possible. Like the TV show, the cast gets in on the action singing for a couple of songs. Most animated movies have parts where characters sing songs expressing how they feel and this movie is not an exception.
The voice actors all sing their hearts out in the songs they participate in. While all the songs in the movie are good, the opening song “Sunny Side Up Summer” takes the cake as the song to sing along to. It’s snappy, fun and just plain catchy. It sets up the rest of the movie, including some of the more heartfelt moments, and really sets the tone for how the Belchers will react to everything that comes their way.
There is only one downside to this film. While voice acting is the movie’s strength it’s the recasting of one specific character that might distract hardcore fans. Bill Hader, from Saturday Night Live fame, voices the character of Mikey on the TV show. Unfortunately, and this isn’t a dig at John Q. Kubin who replaces him in the movie, the change in voice can be a bit jarring. While Kubin does a great version of Mikey, the character is Hader.
The change of one voice actor, while disappointing, does not change how good “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is. It also does not change how much fun audiences can have watching it. “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is out now and is rated PG-13 for rude, suggestive material and language.