The Bob’s Burgers Movie (2022) Review: A Delicious Meal For Fans and a Tasteful Treat For Newbies

The Bob's Burgers Movie Review (1)

On the one hand, it sounds a bit unfair that a film as undemanding, charming, and hilarious as The Bob’s Burgers Movie has to compete with the equally exciting Top Gun: Maverick (2022) at the box office for the next few weeks. On the other hand, even if it’s abundantly clear which film people are more likely to see, it makes perfect sense that this, of all films, will be serving as the breezy alternative to Tom Cruise’s aerial extravaganza, his latest flashy reminder that he’s basically invincible. The reason is because the laid-back, jaunty humor within the film’s refreshingly low-stakes plot is the exact same kind of entertainment the original series has been providing television for over a decade.

After spending an hour-and-a-half with the eccentric Belcher family, it’s easy to understand why a single episode could potentially be the best 23 minutes of anyone’s day. If 237 more episodes spread out over 12 seasons is any indication, Bob’s Burgers is the rare animated sitcom to carve out its own impressive legacy to rival that of The Simpsons (1989- ). Because FOX airs it back-to-back with the crass, out-of-ideas Family Guy (1999- ), and because the titular character shares his voice with the self-serving protagonist of FX’s subversive spy comedy Archer (2009- ), it’s often misconstrued as a series for adults. It’s more than an unsound designation, especially because the show has never had to rely on offending its audience, or even demanding their attention, to crawl its way into public consciousness. This is not to say that the deadpan humor of Bob’s Burgers and its film immediately appeals to children, but rather that it’s a franchise about family intended to be appreciated by families.

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Working-class parents Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) consistently try to keep their struggling restaurant from going under while teaching positive life values to their three kids, Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman), and Louise (Kristen Schaal), who are always on misadventures of their own. This is the basic set-up for each episode of Bob’s Burgers. It’s such a simple premise that anything is possible for a full-length feature so long as the audience maintains their investment with the characters they’ve come to know and love. Thankfully, everything that allows the Belchers and their acquaintances to be some of the funniest and most relatable characters on television is inflated to fit the confines of the film. When the early stages of the summer blockbuster season are already offering plenty of new surprises, not reinventing the wheel more than works in favor of The Bob’s Burgers Movie.

The Bob's Burgers Movie

The latest catastrophe to rekindle the Belchers’ dire straits is a sinkhole that has made its home right in front of their restaurant’s entrance on the eve of the community’s most important celebration. While Bob and Linda are out to think of a new way to turn a profit in time to pay off a critical bank loan, it’s the Belcher siblings who primarily shine throughout the film as the sinkhole unearths a mystery that proves to be the perfect start to their summer vacation and, if solved, just might be the key to saving the restaurant. Sure, it may play out like an extended episode of the series, but this premise is made to feel just complex enough that it can be added to in a way that’s compelling while still retaining the series’ simple charms.

Though not without its share of twists and thrills, show creator, and writer/director, Loren Bouchard offers few genuine surprises and keeps the focus squarely on the Belchers, leveraging their long-established dynamic to ensure their winsome personalities remain unaffected by the ever so slight increase in stakes. Linda is still overly optimistic even as the Belchers’ American Dream gets smaller by the day; the pubescent Tina is still pining after her crush, Jimmy Pesto, Jr. (also Benjamin); Gene is still thinking of new ways to fulfill his dreams of being a musician; and the always conniving Louise is still manipulating her elder siblings with hilarious ease. The show’s eclectic host of quirky side characters also make a welcome return for the film. With the likes of Bob’s best friend Teddy (Larry Murphy), local convict-turned-carny Mickey (Bill Hader), the cantankerous Sgt. Bosco (Gary Cole), and the Belchers’ bumbling landlord, Calvin Fischoeder (Kevin Kline), all getting their chance to shine, it’s clear that the experience of the series’ voice cast has been paying dividends over the past decade, as they are all as comfortable as ever in their respective roles.

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While a lack of originality would be a losing formula in most cases, in this one it works by providing the film with a light-hearted foundation, letting the Belchers solve their problems in a way only they can — this, of course, includes a few well-conceived musical numbers to counter the film’s heartfelt climax. There’s no need on Bouchard’s behalf to get bogged down by pacing issues or the demands of a big-studio budget. Instead, he continues to find humor and pleasure within the monotony of everyday life. This allows the show’s simple animation style to pop on the big screen while Bouchard and co-screenwriter Nora Smith inject plenty of absurd moments within the film’s semi-realistic tone.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie has delight in droves, so much so that the appeal of its ensemble should extend to those who have never had the pleasure of seeing an episode of the series. After all, Bob’s Burgers isn’t the kind of show that requires hours upon hours of devotion to understand or admire, and its cinematic continuation understands that. Plus, given that the series has already been renewed for at least another season and is showing no signs of slowing down, in no way is the film what Serenity (2005) is to the short-lived but much-beloved Firefly (2002), or even what Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) is to WandaVision (2021). All of this is to say that The Bob’s Burgers Movie will be a blast for die-hard fans and, given the series’ overall lack of continuity, just might win over those stopping by Ocean Avenue for the first time.


The Bob’s Burgers Movie Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Bob’s Burgers Movie (2022) Voice Cast – H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, Dan Mintz, Joh Roberts, Eugene Mirman, David Wain, Zach Galifianakis