Bob’s Burgers is the most consistently entertaining and heartwarming show on television. Over 11 years, there’s no real slump to note, no argument (as there is with other beloved series) about which of the 12 seasons are the best. From the jump, the family comedy finds its voice in portraying relatable characters who are able to deliver one of the highest ratios of jokes per minute on television. And in every episode since, I find myself holding my breath. Will they keep it up? I wonder to myself, and within the first seconds of every episode I can let out an exhale of relief when it’s clear that, yes, they’ve done it again. But does that success translate into a full-length feature film?
The Bob’s Burgers Movie opens Friday, May 27, and fans of the TV show will not be disappointed.
While embargoes restrict me from telling you things like, ya know, spoilers, cameos, character developments, and detailed story points, those are best kept as a surprise anyway. Instead let me whet your appetite with some details I can share.
We find the Belchers in dire need of more burger sales, and just when they think they’ll be able to hit the customer jackpot, a sinkhole opens in front of their restaurant, not only preventing diners from entering but also uncovering a decades-old mystery that the Belcher kids are determined to solve. From there, shenanigans and peril and tugging at the heartstrings ensue.
Even in its transition to the big screen, The Bob’s Burgers Movie still holds onto key ingredients used in the show’s recipe for success:
- Burger-of-the-day puns. The episodic bits aren’t lost in this film, and there are still plenty of puns to go around.
- Catchy-as-hell musical numbers. While it’s not a full-on musical (maybe we can hope for that for the sequel?), the nearly two-hour run time allows for plenty of new original songs that propel the story forward and which will be stuck in your head for days.
- Callbacks and Easter eggs that actually make sense. There are plenty of familiar faces throughout the movie, with references to past episodes of the show, but they never feel forced. Nothing in this film is dropped in simply for fan service, but instead as a way to maintain the established world that’s been building over the last 11 years.
- Belcher children fantasy sequences. Worry not—you’re gonna get a glimpse into the psyches of Tina, Gene, and Louise along the way. The pantsless Jimmy Junior horseback scene shown in the trailer is just the tip of the iceberg (lettuce).
- Amped-up animation style. The biggest change from the TV show to the movie is the animation style, which leans into a more shadowed look reflecting the noir-like details of certain plot lines. Everything feels richer and has more depth without losing the classic lined drawings of the Bob’s Burgers we’re all used to.
- High stakes. Throughout the series, the Belchers have found themselves in some seriously dangerous situations, and this film out-dangers them all. The stakes aren’t only physically high, but emotionally, as each Belcher deals with some inner demons bubbling to the surface.
- Jokes, so many jokes. First and foremost, this movie is funny. Between the songs and the heartwarming revelations, there are warp-speed jokes that mimic the same style from the show without ever feeling repetitive. Get ready to hear some of the best one-liners of the entire franchise.
There will certainly be some things to point out as unsatisfactory in the film. The pacing, for instance, is a little off because these stories are usually told in 22-minute increments. But overall, this movie is successful because it’s impossible for Bob’s Burgers to be bad. That’s in part because at the core of the series is a group of flawed but lovable characters, and the relationship between them is more central to each episode (and the film) than trying to squeeze in jokes or write the most fantastical dream sequence or make the slickest parody of a 1980s flick or insert the most obscure food reference.
Even as fictional, somewhat crudely animated characters, these are people that audiences have grown to care about, and from there the rest is gravy. There are no obvious fan service grabs in this movie, because the greatest way to service said fans is to just continue allowing these characters to be themselves and come together in a way that is the antithesis of the after-school special, while still growing as people (er, ya know, cartoons).
Once you have that, then let the writers run loose with their most wild ideas, add in some big-screen bops for good measure, and you’ve got yourself the perfect movie to kick off a summer full of burgers.