Star Rating:

The Bob's Burgers Movie

Directors: Loren Bouchard, Bernard Derriman

Actors: H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, Kevin Kline, Gary Cole

Release Date: Friday 27th May 2022

Running time: 100 minutes

Adapting a TV show for the big screen is often a gamble, but 'Bob's Burgers' always strangely felt tailor-made for a big screen adaptation.

Whenever a TV show makes the leap from the small to silver screen, it is easy to just assume it will be a feature-length episode of the show or 3/4 episodes smushed into one.

'The Bob's Burgers Movie' does things a bit differently, and instead offers up a caper that's one part mystery, one part musical, one part kitchen sink drama, and one part quirky childhood fun.

And like a burger at Bob's restaurant, the finished product is made with love.

The small stakes strangely make 'Bob's Burgers' a prime candidate for a film version.

'Bob's Burgers' has often been cited as the natural successor to 'The Simpsons', and while the show never quite became the same cultural phenomenon as the folks over at Evergreen Terrace, the Belcher's big screen outing is just as winning as the show.

'The Simpsons Movie' went for the "bigger is better" approach and saw the Simpsons undergo an epic adventure to save their town.

In 'The Bob's Burgers Movie', the plot is fairly small-scale and is a great representation of what the show does best: a family trying to get by.

The slice-of-life quality has always been a big appeal of the show, as well as following the different characters' motivations and quirks, and all of the Belcher clan get a chance to shine here.

Bob and Linda are concerned with paying off a bank loan and paying the rent on their premises, while the Belcher children try to weave through the problems that teenage life throws at them.

The film is at its strongest when it's the entire family unit is together, and loses a bit of steam when they're apart.

A large chunk of the third act unites the family again, and after an uneven second act, the film really clicks in the last 20 minutes with some fun set-pieces and finding out what makes these people tick.

The heart and spirit that has made the show such a success is the driving dynamic of the film.

At its strongest, the film has the Belchers playing off each other, and the film loses steam when they separate from each other.

Gary Cole is in fine form as Detective Bosco

There is a narrative justification for the family going off into different plots, but the show is at its strongest when it's the Belchers bouncing off each other.

The kids embark on solving a mystery while Linda and Bob (and Teddy) strive to save the restaurant from financial ruin.

A major strength of the show is the family struggling together and sharing the good and bad times, and when the film loses sight of that, the film loses focus.

The interplay and chemistry between the core cast is a major factor in the show's success, and the cast is in full flight here.

H. Jon Benjamin's beleaguered everyman bit is still as funny as ever and effortlessly makes the leap from TV to film.

The core cast of Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, John Roberts bring their A-game and Kristen Schaal in particular, is as consistently funny as ever.

It is a testament to how well the cast mesh together that you expect the Belcher family to just be naturally funny, and it took hearing their voices on the big screen to realise how well-cast and strong the chemistry is between the voice actors.

Kevin Kline and Zach Galifianakis are recurring characters on the show, and their characters are given a lot more to do in the film than in the series.

After the film, you hope that the pair are more prominently featured in the show going forward.

As stated, the stakes for the Belchers' big-screen outing isn't saving the world - it's about saving the restaurant.

The action of the film doesn't see the Belchers go on wacky hijinks abroad like so many other films based on TV shows, it keeps the Belchers firmly within what is implied to be New Jersey.

The strength of the show has always been keeping the characters grounded in a reality we know and are familiar with, and the film carries on this fine series tradition in some style.

Much like the show, it occasionally forays into musical territory, and with the dimensions of a bigger screen (and budget!) to play with, the film makes the most of its musical sequences, with some impressive in-camera work.

Directors Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman are veterans of the show, with Bouchard responsible for creating the show and Derriman has worked on the show since season 2.

Having that continuity behind the scenes means audiences know what they're getting with this film, and Bouchard and Derriman aren't afraid to flex their animation chops.

One particular musical sequence sees a few dozen cast members take part in a 'West Side Story' musical number that would put Spielberg to shame.

The film has a pleasant animation style in large part to being animated in 2D.

There is a certain element of computer-generated animation in there, but the film is so lovingly made and hand-crafted that it isn't noticeable.

There is a certain charm to 2D films as opposed to Pixar's hyper-realistic graphics or Dreamworks' distinct style, and the simplistic style is surprisingly pleasant to look at on a big screen.

The animation style in 'The Bob's Burgers Movie' is simple but stylish

The word "pleasant" is what we'd use to describe the film overall.

A simple, basic plot lets the show's writers and directors stay within their comfort zone and double down on exploring why the audience are so fond of these characters after all these years.

At the end of the day, the pithy asides and strong character beats is what carries the film, and one inspired musical number towards the end ties the film together wonderfully.

Exposition through musical numbers is always hard to get across, but with over a decade of experience under their belts, the numbers in the film live up to the standard set by the show.

Lastly, 'The Bob's Burgers Movie' is something of a rarity in modern cinema - it's a simple film that isn't trying to set up a franchise, isn't trying to sell merchandise, there is no grander world-building or lore, it's an honest-to-goodness good time at the movies.

There is a simplicity and a succintness to 'The Bob's Burgers Movie' that makes it out stand out from the crowd at the multiplex.

It would probably help to have watched a few episodes of the show going into the film just to have the core character dynamics down, but overall this is a story about a family doing their best, which is perhaps the most cinematic of stories.

'The Bob's Burgers Movie' is a winning, unpretentious good time, and will be guaranteed to take your mind off things for 100 minutes.