‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ is Here to Ask: How Can You Possibly Resist Seeing the Belcher Clan on the Big Screen?

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The Bob’s Burgers Movie (CREDIT:
20th Century Studios/Screenshot)

Starring: H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Larry Murphy, Kevin Kline, Zach Galifianakis, David Wain, Gary Cole, Sam Seder, Aziz Ansari, David Herman, Brian Huskey, Jenny Slate, Ron Lynch, Stephanie Beatriz, Nicole Byer

Directors: Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman

Running Time: 102 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Some Surprisingly Scary Situations

Release Date: May 27, 2022 (Theaters)

Has it really been 12 seasons and over 200 episodes of Bob’s Burgers already? It somehow still occupies that “New Show” headspace in the Media Consumption Lobe of my brain, and yet an entire generation has now been raised by the Belcher crew. However long it’s lasted, this delightfully quirky animated Fox standby remains a reliable AND exciting part of my viewing routine. It’s a perfect way to spend a half hour on a Sunday evening (or the next Monday morning, or sometime later in the week when Peak TV obligations are really piling up). Just as middle child Tina still goes crazy over butts after all these years, so too am I eternally jazzed about the prospect of a big screen Belcher adventure as if it were the first time I were ever going to the theater. As long as it stays true to its underdog self, then I and legions of other loyal fans will be satisfied.

What’s profoundly striking about The Bob’s Burgers Movie is how much it doesn’t differ from a typical episode, beyond the stretched-out running time. Yes, the screen is a little wider, and the animation is a little more high-definition. But there’s no big-name stunt cameos or any trips across the universe. Instead, the whole thing is confined to a few of the typical locations in the same old anonymous East Coast beach town with the regular voice cast doing what they’ve always done.

What is different is that the stakes are a little higher. The family restaurant is the closest it’s ever been to bankruptcy, Tina’s ready to ask longtime crush Jimmy Pesto Jr. if he’ll be her summer boyfriend, the danger at hand is legitimately life-threatening, and there are some wonderfully go-for-broke musical numbers. But once again, these are motifs that have already come up multiple times on the show, so it’s only mild heightening. True, it’s not every day that a giant sinkhole opens up in front of Bob’s Burgers and makes it basically impossible for customers to enter. Nor is it every day that skeletal remains are found in front of the restaurant, and in a giant sinkhole no less. And that is what happens in the movie, as it sets off a juvenile murder investigation and some renegade burger cart hawking on the boardwalk. To the uninitiated, that might indeed sound like something wonderfully out-of-the-ordinary. But this is an adaptation of a show that just pulled off an ambitious Blade Runner homage in its most recent season finale. I’m not complaining about this familiarity; instead, I’m happily listing all the ways that The Bob’s Burgers Movie feels like home.

So, the first big-screen adventure of one of my favorite animated families is far from mind-blowing, but as I walked out of the theater, I had this thought: wouldn’t it be lovely if this became a new annual tradition? On the weekend after the latest season finale, we always get a new Bob’s Burgers movie. We spend most of the year getting our patty-bun-and-topping fill at home, and then we commune with our fellow burgerholics out in the wild, and maybe introduce a few new friends and family to the routine each time. Isn’t that a world you’d like to live in? Isn’t that a world you’d like your children to live in? We’ve already had so many Burgers of the Day, now it’s time for the Burgers of the Year.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie is Recommended If You Like: Food Puns and Thick Buns

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Burgers of the Day

Talking Dog Alert August 2019 Edition: ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ Review

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CREDIT: Doane Gregory/Twentieth Century Fox

Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Kevin Costner, Amanda Seyfried, Kathy Baker, Martin Donovan, Gary Cole, McKinley Belcher II, Ryan Kiera Armstrong

Director: Simon Curtis

Running Time: 107 Minutes

Rating: PG for Doggy Messes

Release Date: August 9, 2019

The “racing” in The Art of Racing in the Rain refers to the Formula One circuit, but the real race is how fast Kevin Costner can get out all of his canine voiceover narration. There’s been a mini-explosion of talking dog (or rather, thinking-out-loud dog) movies lately, and this might be the most verbose one yet. Enzo the golden retriever wants to make sure that he fulfills all his familial duties, partly because he believes that being a good boy will help out where he ends up in his next life. If he’s good enough, he might even come back as a human, so that karmic balance sheet must be in the most tip-top shape possible. So he makes sure to explain to the audience everything that he must, and that means a heavy script burden for Costner, who keeps it laconic but also plenty dense. If the race to be the Best Cinematic Dog is measured in number of words, then Enzo takes it by the bone.

It’s nice that Enzo has it all figured out (or at least acts like he does) since much of the human interaction around him is infuriating. His owner Denny (Milo Ventimiglia) is an unfailingly sweet guy and devoted family man, but he gets things off on the wrong foot with his father-in-law Max (Martin Donovan), who makes just about no effort to deflate the tension. Max raises some legitimate concerns about Denny’s chosen profession on the track: it’s inherently dangerous, there’s little financial security, and it threatens to keep him away from his wife and daughter for long stretches of time. But Denny makes extra safety efforts and occasionally turns down races to specifically address these concerns. And one would hope that Max could put things in perspective when his daughter (Amanda Seyfried) is stricken with cancer. But instead he gets into a ludicrous custody battle with his son-in-law. This absurdity makes me wish that The Art of Racing in the Rain were filtered even more through Enzo’s outlook. His beliefs about reincarnation might not fit with everyone’s conception of existence, but they are a whole lot more sweetly satisfying than the machinations of fantastically stubborn in-laws.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is Recommended If You Like: A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey, Watching old Formula One races

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Laps