Per Matt
Preparing for The Bob’s Burgers Movie, I took a deep dive into my DVR. You see, I’ve been a fan of the show ever since its FOX premiere 12 years ago, but I’ve been slacking lately. With 65 episodes just sitting on my DVR, screaming out for me to finally watch them, I began my preparation. But after a 10-episode binge-watch session, I was fully prepared for watching this film.

Adapting an ongoing TV show to the big screen is tricky business. On one hand, longtime fans of the show absolutely want to see more from their favorite characters, but there truly needs to be a reason for audiences (fanboys, fangirls and newbies alike) to pay up at the movie theater for an all-new adventure. After sitting through a recent screening, I surmised The Bob’s Burgers Movie tries to take a bite out of fans’ wallets, while only providing a bite-sized story. And then I started to ponder, “Does Bob’s Burgers even deserve a movie adaptation?”

Every time I hear Bob’s theme song, it feels like Sunday night. So, how does the crew from Bento Box make this story feel, well, bigger?

From the intro, the musical theme doesn’t sound like it was composed on a computer, which sounded great. That’s a good start. Our fast-food crew discovers a sinkhole has cratered directly outside their restaurant entrance, immediately scrapping their plans for a successful summer at the wharf. Compounding problems, the family’s mortgage is almost overdue (as well as their monthly rent).

Will Bob’s Burgers stay in business? And how does an unearthed mysterious carnie body work its way into the storyline? You’ll only find out by visiting the theater this weekend (or by waiting a couple of months and watching it on Disney Plus)!

Bob’s Burgers is open for big-screen business. Photo Courtesy: Disney.

Fans of the show know what they can expect from Bob’s, but new audiences may not understand the horses, the Zombies and all of the butts in this feature film. In fact, I was surprised how casually past references come and go without much fanfare. Gene’s pop-culture references (and poorly played music) is always a highlight on the show but missing here. Louise’s schemes bordering into Bad Girls territory is fully present and accounted for, but Tina’s boy crazy, erotic fan fiction (dubbed friend fiction) has been sadly muted.

There is a murder mystery afoot that immediately involves the Belcher Family, pushing everything else aside.

Songs are a familiar story element that get featured in this new format, as the family has been known to break out their singing voices from time to time. In fact, songs used to break out at the most inopportune times on the show, but now they feel like a regular occurrence on every episode. I’ve ALWAYS enjoyed watching the show’s end credits, as they sing a fun, wacky recap of what just happened. I was fearing this film would indulge in those tendencies, becoming an animated musical. You can expect quite a few in the movie, but a musical it is not.

For more than a decade, the neighboring Italian restaurant has always been Bob’s primary competition, with its owner, Jimmy Pesto being his biggest rival. Here, we have a new Big Bad and the fan-favorite has been muted in more ways than one. Hollywood is a fickle place — I should know, since I briefly worked there. It’s a place where the creatives have all of the control and with the political landscape as cut and dry as it is today, if you should happen to step out of line, even in the slightest way, you’re immediately ostracized.

I’m absolutely not a fan of personal politics playing a contributing factor in a person’s professional life, yet the narrative remains. Gina Carrano was victimized by Disney on The Mandalorian, and Jay Johnston has been similarly removed from Bob’s Burgers for his differing political beliefs. So much for the party that tolerates differing views…

Other than Jonhston being MIA (his character has a very brief cameo), all of the other original voice actors from the show return and sound great, although Jimmy Jr. is even MORE lispy than ever, for some reason. I’m not sure why.

Bob’s is obviously following The Simpsons model: Become a successful animated FOX TV series (which itself is a huge milestone), build up an audience and spinoff a feature film while the show still airs on television. FOX also tested the big-screen waters with The X-Files at its peak of popularity, but instead of only focusing on movies, its potential was squandered when it returned to the small screen.

Will that scenario become all-too familiar to Bob’s family? We should get an idea after Memorial Day weekend, when the weekend box-office results are confirmed.

Everyone loves an underdog — especially those that fantasize about butts and Zombies. As a show, Bob’s Burgers is definitely an underdog. I thought The Bob’s Burgers Movie was a nice addition to the overall mythology of the show, I’m guessing it might receive a reference or two in future seasons, but it absolutely did not deserve the price of admission in order to see it.