Summer is here. A time for burgers, and movies about burgers.
Bob’s Burgers: The Movie is hot off the grille and ready to hit the big screen.
Fans of the decade-long, animated TV series are in for a treat.
If you’re late to the restaurant table, Bob’s Burgers is about a struggling family trying to survive by running a modest, mom and pop local burger joint that has the misfortune of being located right next door to the local funeral parlor.
There is the dad, Bob Belcher, with his comb-over and mustache, his adoring wife and their three kids. None of them have teeth.
Actually, there are no characters anywhere in the quirky, funny world of Bob’s Burgers that have any teeth. Nevertheless, they occasionally buy and somehow eat Bob’s hamburgers anyway.
To say that the series is offbeat is an understatement. I recall catching an episode for the first time and noticing that one of Bob’s young daughters always wears a pair of pink bunny ears. I asked a friend of mine who is an avid fan about why she is constantly wearing pink bunny ears and he said, “she just does.”
It was all pretty weird, in a funny way, and I found myself being slowly sucked into the strange vibe of the show. It was joyfully addictive.
So, you can imagine the excitement when trailers for Bob’s Burgers: The Movie started popping up months ago. Like the legion of loyal fans, I began to salivate like one of Pavlov’s dogs.
I’ve now seen it. I loved it. It’s a funny, little, animated summer comedy.
Plot-wise, it abruptly begins with a classic film noire murder at a carnival. There are ominous shadows on the wall of a circus tent showing two men desperately fighting. There are cutaway shots of the horrified faces of carnival-prize stuffed animals, helplessly witnessing the crime.
It’s not how you expect an animated comedy to begin, but this is Bob’s Burgers.
Flash forward and we find the Belcher family doing what they are always doing—frantically struggling to pay their bills. In addition to the rent being overdue, they also owe money to the bank for the purchase of new equipment. They have seven days to come up with the money.
They are under pressure, and things get much worse when a giant sink hole ominously opens up right in front of the restaurant’s front door. To everyone’s shock, the hole reveals the dead body of the man shown murdered in the opening scene of the movie, making the area an official, police crime scene marked with yellow tape.
As someone once said, desperate times require desperate measures, and that’s where the fun begins. Bob and his wife set about to find a way to still sell burgers while the kids take it upon themselves to solve the murder mystery. They realize that they need to solve the case themselves since the police investigator is woefully inept.
Their investigation takes them to a camp of creepy “carnies,” a staple of film noire movies such as Guillermo del Toro’s recent film Nightmare Alley (2021). It’s a staple of movies like this, but it always works. Carnies can never seem to get a break in the movies.
They ride around on their bicycles much like the kids in ‘Stranger Things,‘ on a mission to find the truth and bring the killer to justice.
Along the way, there are all the wiener jokes, fart jokes, bathroom jokes and double entendres that you would expect in an animated comedy like this, as well as some movie references tossed in for the adults in the audience, since adults are pretty much the target audience for Bob’s Burgers. An example is “You can’t handle the tooth!” when one of the kids discovers some dental evidence from the murdered corpse.
In scaling Bob’s Burgers up for the big screen, the creators bumped up the visuals a bit and ramped up the action with some slick car chases.
Musical numbers were added, though I wouldn’t refer to The Bob’s Burgers Movie as a movie musical.
To its credit, the movie is every bit as inventive and entertaining as the TV series. When they realize that customers can’t come to the restaurant, one of the patrons suggests that they take the burgers to the customers via a rickety, jerry-rigged propane grill on wheels. Bob’s wife fashions herself a cheeseburger costume with a bikini to grab attention.
It’s all funny. Bob’s Burgers is a perfectly-executed, perfectly-timed early summer release. At one point, some of the characters wander off to watch the hockey playoffs, which will be going on when The Bob’s Burgers Movie hits the movie theaters.
You don’t want to miss this movie. It’s clever. It’s whacky.
You’ll laugh your buns off.
‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ opens in theaters Friday, May 27.