‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ Review: Clever Summer Comedy With Fries

Fox’s award-winning long-running animated series “Bob’s Burgers,” created by Loren Bouchard, is an unassuming Hollywood success story. Built in the same mold as “The Simpsons” and “King of the Hill,” it’s no surprise that this irreverent, smart, family-friendly animated comedy has reached such heights, both commercially and creatively. The arrival of “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” on the big screen this week, seems like just the icing on the cake, but the film is also a refreshing contrast to the kind of cinematic spectacle that typically invades theaters in the summer.

The comedy of “Bob’s Burgers” is multiple and, like a good burger, it works through the fusion of elements to create something unique. There’s the writing, full of jokes, puns, and the cognitive dissonance of little kids making references wiser and naughtier than their years. There’s voice acting, which makes the writing and the characters even funnier. And then there’s the aggressive 2D animation style, which explodes onto the big screen becoming a radically positive aesthetic. Plus, there are elaborate musical numbers, adding to the wacky, deadpan humor.

It’s this combo that makes “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” not only work but sing as one of the funniest, smartest, and most unique summer movies of the year, the lighthearted entertainment genre, charming, low-stakes and incredibly smart that is too rare. “Bob’s Burgers” is on its own wavelength, and it’s simply a treat to take this wave for a spin.

“Bob’s Burgers” follows the Belcher family, owners of a local burger restaurant in a seaside hamlet. Dad Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) flips the burgers, his wife Linda (John Roberts) keeps the family together and their three children, Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Louise (Kristen Schaal), go through their own challenges and growing pains, whether it’s a longtime crush (Tina), a frustrated desire to be a musician (Gene) or an overwhelming desire to prove his bravery to the other kids at school (Louise).

In “The Bob’s Burgers Movie”, the family faces a crippling business setback when a sinkhole opens up in front of their restaurant. That’s enough to send Bob into a spiral of anxiety after their loan extension was denied, threatening to put Bob’s Burgers out of business. Fight against insecurity at school. Louise steps into the sinkhole in a misguided attempt at bravado and finds the skeletal remains of a local carnival worker, sparking a police investigation. As the children go after the wild goose to find out the identity of the murderer, thinking it might help save their family, the parents attempt to save the business with their own scheme, selling burgers from a DIY grill cart on the boardwalk. During this adventure, the Belcher children are caught up in the carny underworld of their community, as well as the mysterious family misdeeds of their owners, the Fischoeders (Kevin Kline, Zach Galifianakis, David Wain).

The antics are goofy, the jokes are dense, and “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is both tense and genuinely moving. It’s a story that demonstrates the powerful strength of the family unit, and that small businesses come down to preserving the fabric of a community. But most importantly, it’s hilarious, and chances are you’ll be craving a burger too.

Walsh is a film critic for the Tribune News Service.

‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’

Note : PG-13, for coarse/suggestive material and language

Operating time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

Playing: Starts May 27 in general release

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