It looks like, once again, I’m late to the patty. Those humble few who follow the comments section on this website will know that I required to be alerted by members of the cognoscenti as to the impending feature-film version of Loren Bouchard’s cartoon series for FOX; the heads-up was required, because I have to admit that I’d never heard of Bob’s Burgers. I seem to be in a minority, since many critics seem able to discuss in detail the differences between the tv show and the movie; as a newbie, I have to say that Bob’s Burgers goes down rather easily as a corrective to the worst impulses of The Simpsons or Family Guy, but also as a frolic in its own right.
The family unit at the centre of the story are the Belchers; a mom and pop fast-food operation, they’re living the same hard-scrabble life as the rest of us, struggling to make the payments on their mortgage. Bob (H John Benjamin) and Linda Belcher (Dan Mintz) plan to get out with a mobile stand and sell sell sell to make up the deficit, but their plan is stymied by a large sink-hole that opens up in front of their establishment. Can the Belcher’s kids save the family? Finding a skeleton in the sink-hole turns out to be the first step towards a happy resolution….
Those new to Bob’s Burgers will appreciate the comic talents in the voice cast; Kristen Schaal’s rasp is perfectly suited to bunny-eared scamp Louise, Aziz Ansari, Jenny Slate and Stephanie Beatriz all contribute bits, and Kevin Kline and Zack Galifanakis pillory the upper-classes by voicing the cruel landlords Calvin and Felix Fischoeder. There’s also a few rather jolly songs to lure in audiences, and the whole package is bright, cheerful and inoffensive.
Set against Top Gun: Maverick as counter-programming at the box-office, Bob’s Burgers should please those who dig a timbale of sight-gags and hip social commentary; it certainly picks up some of the heavily lifting that The Simpsons seems to only tackle intermittently. Bob’s Burgers works as a gentle initiation for those not previously familiar with the Belchers; a light meal, perhaps, but one that shouldn’t provoke the kind of wind-breaking that’s featured here.
Thanks to Disney/20th Century Studios for big screen access to this film.
#BobsBurgersMovie, only in cinemas 27 May.