‘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

This Is a Movie Review: Indie Rom-Coms Continue Chugging Along with Demetri Martin’s ‘Dean’

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This review was originally posted on News Cult in May 2017.

Starring: Demetri Martin, Kevin Kline, Gillian Jacobs, Rory Scovel, Mary Steenburgen

Director: Demetri Martin

Running Time: 87 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for A Little Bit of Language, A Little Bit of Relations

Release Date: June 2, 2017 (Limited)

If you look at Demetri Martin – the moptopped, artistically inclined comedian whose Wikipedia page once listed Socrates as an influence – and think “romantic comedy lead,” then chances are that you and I would get along famously. And wouldn’t you know it, we now have the perfect topic to discuss: Dean, a minor-key charmer serving as Martin’s directorial debut.

Martin plays the title character, a Brooklyn illustrator living through with the fallout of his mother’s death and a breakup with his ex-fiancée (Christine Woods). Instead of dealing with all that, he flies out to Los Angeles to meet with an ad agency interested in using his drawings. Alas, the pitch and the hipster-bro vibe put him off. (SNL’s Beck Bennett is perfect as the exec who remains on his office treadmill the entire scene.) At this point, Dean really should head back home and sort out matters with his father (Kevin Kline), who is eager to sell their house. But he finds himself too entranced by La La Land to head home, because he meets this girl named Nicky, and she is played by Gillian Jacobs, a Pittsburgh native who often inhabits West Coast gals who inadvertently knock the lead characters out of their stupors and makes it look effortless (it’s not a Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing, it’s a chill vibe thing).

Spoiler alert: this budding romance does not exactly end happily. But that does not mean there is no satisfying resolution to be had. The reason the title is Dean as opposed to “Dean & Nicky” or “Millennial Love Story” is because it is about the individual. (Dad, also gets his own storyline, a suitably engaging romance with his realtor, played by Mary Steenburgen.) There are plenty of stories about looking for love and growing up, and this one is hardly groundbreaking. But they keep being told because new storytellers keep creeping towards their thirties and forties. What we as viewers humbly request of them along the way is that they find honesty and individuality in their voice. And in the guise of Dean, I am happy to hear from Demetri Martin has to say.

Dean is Recommended If You Like: Demetri Martin’s illustrations, (500) Days of SummerCeleste and Jesse Forever

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Pubic Clown Wigs

This Is a Movie Review Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

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What up with Disney ransacking its vault to remake its own animated hits into (mostly[-ish]) live-action versions? This is not an inherently bad idea. These are stories that have been told over and over (often in fairy tale form) and will continue to be told over and over, so why not spruce them up with some 21st Century Pizzazz?

What does new-flavor Beauty and the Beast offer over the 1991 toon? Belle’s an inventor, but that does not factor in too much. There is an “exclusively gay moment” for Le Fou, but it is so inconsequential that you might need a study guide to locate it (I certainly did). So ultimately, this is about some legends of acting and singing giving it a whirl. Nothing earth-shattering, but we’re in good hands.

I give Beauty and the Beast 3 Rose Petals out of 5 Snowy Days in June.