The Bob’s Burgers Movie (2022) — Comedy, medium-rare

“I’ve tasted death. In my mouth.”

Justin’s rating: The movie I’ve been waiting ears to see

Justin’s review: When one of your favorite TV shows makes the jump to the big screen, it’s usually accompanied by this horrible mixture of dread and hope. Not every series makes for a good movie — I’m sure you don’t have to think very hard to come up with more than one example — and not every series is done justice with a bigger budget and grander scope. The best one can hope for, usually, is that the movie outing will feel like a beefed-up episode.

Yes, that’s an intentional pun for a movie that’s nominally about making hamburgers.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie is, at the end of the day, nothing more or less than a beefed-up episode. And that’s OK! I’d rather it be a solid, dependable product than something that tried to be much more than it is and ended up faceplanting because of it. Bob’s Burgers is a comfy, low-key show that doesn’t (usually) lend itself to huge ideas and wild adventures. It’s about a kooky family that loves each other and does the best to keep the dream of a struggling restaurant alive. That’s all we needed from the film.

In fact, Bob’s Burgers has never been in so much danger of closure than here, as the bank has given the Belchers a week to make a payment on their loan. It gets substantially worse, as their landlord gets thrown in jail and a giant sinkhole opens up in front of the restaurant. It’s such a bad run of luck that Bob falls into deep depression for a good half or so of the flick. Considering how likable the character is and how well H. Jon Benjamin portrays him, taking this Belcher out of commission is a bad move.

Picking up the slack are the three Belcher kids — Louise, Tina, and Gene — who skip school to solve a mystery, save their landlord, and possibly, possibly save the restaurant. As they follow some random connections from cops to carnies to secret clubhouses, the kids also struggle with their own issue of the week. Louise feels like she isn’t that brave, Tina wants to ask Jimmy Jr. to be her “summer boyfriend,” and Gene would love to get the band back together to perform at the big Wonder Wharf concert.

The thought that kept coming to mind while watching this was “padding.” Make no mistake, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is really The Bob’s Burgers Extended Episode. It’s a half-hour story that’s rolled and stretched and filled with as much padding as possible. There are musical numbers (all decent but none that left me humming afterward), a whole lot of callbacks to various characters and previous episodes, and a lot of Bob staring sadly into a sinkhole. Or “crime hole,” as the kids start calling it.

The padding makes this flick feel a little long, but it wasn’t an onerous watch. It’s fairly funny with plenty of great quotes and silly situations, and a generally upbeat message. It also doesn’t rock the boat on the series itself, changing very little to the status quo between seasons. I think fans will have a lot of fun sharing their favorite connections to the show, and even my kids — who aren’t that acquainted with the series — were laughing and came out of the theater with smiles.

A movie was nice. I’m glad it got made, if nothing else than to give props to one of the best animated families on television. But I’m totally OK with the creative team keeping its focus on the small screen.

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