After 12 critically acclaimed seasons, with a 13th on the way, Loren Bouchard’s slice-of-life animated series about the burger-slinging Belcher family finally receives the cinematic treatment with The Bob’s Burgers Movie. Co-directed by Bouchard and Bernard Derriman, with a script penned by Bouchard and Nora Smith, The Bob’s Burgers Movie follows the Belchers as they struggle to keep their business afloat.
Nestled between the ‘It’s Your Funeral Home’ and a perpetually for sale shop front, sits Bob’s Burgers, the low-key burger restaurant owned and run by family man Bob Belcher (voiced by H. John Benjamin) his wife Linda (John Roberts), and with help from their three children – socially awkward Tina (Dan Mintz), carefree Gene (Eugene Mirman), and mischievous Louise (Kristen Schaal).
Over the course of their immensely long TV run, the Belcher family have often found themselves in a myriad of oddball situations that threaten their restaurant’s success – the pilot episode for instance, aptly titled ‘Human Flesh’, sees them face off against a rumour that their burgers contain a little more than ground beef. But their first film outing sees them go up against perhaps their biggest threat yet – a looming loan payment deadline and a giant sinkhole that opens up right outside their door, and at the very beginning of summer vacation, no less!
Sinkhole and bank stress aside, the Belcher children have their own problems to deal with, like Tina plucking up the courage to ask her crush Jimmy Pesto Jr. (also voiced by H. John Benjamin) to be her ‘summer boyfriend’, Gene questioning if he’s truly the musical savant he always believed himself to be, and Louise defending her schoolyard rep against a couple of bullies who call her a “baby” for still wearing her pink bunny ear hat. In an attempt to prove her bravery and cement her status as definitely not a baby, Louise’s venture into the sinkhole unearths the skeleton of a murdered carnival worker and inadvertently throws the whole family into a chaotic game of whodunnit with their business and lives at stake.
The thing about Bob’s Burgers (the series and the movie) that makes it so excellent, and that so often resonates with audiences, is truly the Belcher family. For all their antics and idiosyncrasies, the Belchers are a group of people that just genuinely love and care for each other despite their often glaringly different personalities. The crises in The Bob’s Burgers Movie for instance really pit Bob’s near eternal pessimism against Linda’s beaming optimism, as seen in the film’s opening number ‘Sunny Days of Summer’. A real standout in the film, however, is the youngest Belcher, Louise, who sees the most personal exploration and growth throughout the film’s duration.
For the uninitiated, the plot of The Bob’s Burgers Movie is no doubt a bizarre one. For long-time fans, this is just a 2-hour long episode and like the best Bob’s Burgers episodes, the film’s subplots get plenty of time to breathe on their own before finally colliding in the final third for a big, goofy payoff. The benefit of a movie budget also means improvements to the overall animation style; colours feel brighter, there’s excellent use of shadows to enhance the visuals, and the movie’s opening sequence feels way more cinematic than is typical of the series.
There’s a lot to love and enjoy in The Bob’s Burgers Movie, enough even that newcomers to the series will probably find themselves running to their nearest streaming service to catch up on the seasons afterward. The Bob’s Burgers Movie is truly a gem of an experience and features all the key elements that makes the show so popular; funny and memorable characters voiced by the original voice actors, silly jokes and funny dialogue, bright and beautiful visuals, and some crafty song and dance numbers.