Bob’s Burgers is one of those shows that I’d been meaning to watch for a while but I hadn’t really gotten around to it until recently. I’ve just started the show and have finished the second season, but I’m not fully familiar with the show. That said, with any film like this, I always feel that it should work no matter how much you’ve seen of the show. Seeing this, even though there were a few jokes and character beats that went over my head as I’ve not seen all of the show, it’s still a really entertaining film.
The film focuses on the Belcher family, parents Bob and Linda and kids Gene, Tina and Louise, who run a burger restaurant together. After Bob and Linda get denied an extension on their loan payment they are given a week to pay or they’ll lose their restaurant equipment, with matters not helped by a sinkhole opening up outside the restaurant meaning no-one can get in. Further complicating matters is a murder mystery resulting from the sinkhole so whilst Bob and Linda work with their friend Teddy to earn enough money to pay the loan, Louise, Tina and Gene go to solve the mystery. Now the structure and overall feel of the film is pretty much an extended episode of Bob’s Burgers. There’s nothing wrong with that and the formula worked well previously for things like The Simpsons Movie and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. It also helps that enough character details are given at the start of the film, such as the contrast between the more pessimistic attitude of Bob with the optimistic attitude of Linda, to clue audiences unfamiliar with the show into the film.
There is a sense of familiarity present throughout the film, with the cast, including H Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal as the Belcher’s, along with others like Kevin Kline, Zack Galifianakis and Larry Murphy clearly at ease in their roles and allowing the characters to shine through. In terms of character development, there is good focus given to Bob, Tina and especially Louise, who feels like the focal point of the film, but there are bits where it feels like Gene and Linda feel a bit left behind, this being most clearly felt with Gene. After a well done scene showing Gene’s insecurities, it doesn’t really come up again until the end of the film. That said, the character development we do get is well done and helps to show the Belcher’s as a caring and loving family. This means that, even with the more bombastic and extended plot, the core of the appeal of Bob’s Burgers isn’t lost in the transition to the big screen.
It also helps that this is a really funny film. As I’ve said previously with comedies, it’s hard to review a good one as you’ll risk spoiling the jokes. What I will say is that I was laughing constantly throughout the film and there weren’t really any jokes that fell flat. If there is one thing I wish we expanded it’s that there are a few well done musical numbers spread through the film, the performances, writing and animation working well to sell these as musical numbers these characters would perform, even down to some of the singing not quite being in tune. However there are only three songs and I think this could have worked better as a full blown musical.
The animation meanwhile ensures that the general charm of the Bob’s Burgers style isn’t lost. There is more detail, especially with lighting and shadows, but it doesn’t overpower the overall style of Bob’s Burgers, but also allows the greater budget and time given to the film to be clearly felt.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with The Bob’s Burgers Movie. I’m sure that a more knowledgeable fan would get more out of this than me, especially with callbacks to events in the show I wouldn’t have gotten, but the general charm of the film and the strong characterisation means that anyone who is not familiar with the show can find something to enjoy here.
My Rating: 4/5