Movie review

“Bob’s Burgers,” an animated show finishing its 12th season on Fox, is not really like anything else. It’s not irreverent or crass like its older Fox siblings “The Simpsons” or “Family Guy.” It’s animated plainly and portrays mundane situations — a family running a burger restaurant in a seaside town — that could be easily re-created on a live-action show. 

Yet this unassuming show has worked its way toward the top tier of the animated show pantheon in the past decade, and its new feature-length film, “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” solidifies it successfully, if a bit routinely. Directors Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman have created essentially a long, funny, quality episode of the show. 

The plot hardly matters, but here it is: The same week beleaguered Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin, who also voices the titular character in FX’s “Archer”) and his wife, Linda (John Roberts), owe the bank an overdue loan payment, a sinkhole opens in front of their restaurant, sucking up all their business and revealing a dead body and a mystery that their kids Louise (Kristen Schaal), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Tina (Dan Mintz) decide to solve to save the restaurant.

The movie is packed with so many of the clever jokes and puns the “Bob’s Burgers” writing team is known for that if you stop paying attention for a few seconds, you’ll miss more than a few. And while it bills itself as a bit of a musical comedy, there aren’t that many songs, though the ones that are in there are generally better than the songs in the TV show. The extra time and money went into upgrading the animation just a bit; it mostly shows when it comes to the characters’ dances, which understatedly mime real awkward dancing close enough to be really funny.

One quibble: The climax goes on just a little too long.

But here’s something that struck me while I was watching “The Bob’s Burgers Movie”: I could take my entire family to the movie and everyone would laugh at some point, and no one would get too uncomfortable (despite one dark turn with close brushes with death, and one scene where skeletal teeth accidentally plop into Louise’s mouth). 


“Bob’s Burgers” is an adult animated show, but any veiled sexual jokes or double entendres are immediately rejoined by Bob saying, “Gene!” (because it’s normally Gene saying them). It’s free of pop culture jokes and doesn’t appear to have a particular political leaning. The Belcher family clearly lives paycheck-to-paycheck in stark contrast to their rich and quixotic landlord, Calvin Fischoeder (Kevin Kline), and his brother, Felix (Zach Galifianakis), but the humor doesn’t have a morally outraged edge.

It’s not overtly radical, but the way it showcases how weird each member of the family can be — from Tina’s pseudosexual love of zombies to Gene’s obsession with performing bad music in terrible costumes — and how the rest love them anyway is quietly revolutionary.

The movie doesn’t spend as much time playing with that as some of the better episodes of the show, but the movie is still totally fine.

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie” ★★★ (out of four)

With H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, Dan Mintz, John Roberts, Eugene Mirman. Directed by Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman. 102 minutes. Rated PG-13 for rude/suggestive material and language. Opens May 27 at multiple theaters.