When bringing popular animated shows to film, it seems like the common belief is that the film has to be bigger and wilder than what the audience can see from the comfort of their home. 2007’s The Simpsons Movie put all of Springfield under a giant dome, while 1999’s South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut started a war between the United States and Canada. With a bigger screen comes bigger stakes, consequences, and adventure.

But Bob’s Burgers has never been like other animated shows. Bob’s Burgers certainly has its wild scenarios (even the pilot episode centered around a theory that the restaurant was cooking human meat), but it’s also the type of show that can focus exclusively on a father and daughter bonding over a series of samurai films, a young girl’s crush on a boy, or the Belcher family attempting to keep their business profitable. Despite the occasional talking toilets or The National singing several songs about Thanksgiving, Bob’s Burgers is typically a low-key, charming affair that prioritizes character and familial dynamics over absurd concepts.

This is both a pro and a con for The Bob’s Burgers Movie. Bob’s Burgers’ first foray into film once more has the Belcher family struggling to keep their restaurant afloat, with only seven days left to pay the bank before they are closed for good. When a giant sinkhole opens in front of the entrance, and a dead body is found, it seems impossible that Bob’s Burgers will be able to make the needed money to keep their doors open.

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While this story could’ve likely been handled through an episode or two of the show, The Bob’s Burgers Movie allows more time to have fun and explore these characters than a typical episode would. As Bob (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (voiced by John Roberts) are attempting to save their livelihood, their children are trying to solve the murder of the man found in the sinkhole outside their restaurant. But within this, directors Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman, and writers Jim Dauterive and Bouchard, expand on what we know about these kids in a much grander way. Tina (voiced by Dan Mintz) explores whether she should continue her crush on Jimmy Jr., Gene (voiced by Eugene Mirman) tries to live out his musical dreams and play at the Wonder Wharf, while Louise (voiced by Kristen Schaal) questions if she’s brave enough to finally get rid of her rabbit ears.


This focus on characters and simply doing a more comprehensive look at each of their wants and desires makes The Bob’s Burgers Movie fit in perfectly with what the series has set up. Amongst all this, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is also a murder mystery and a musical, again, utilizing this new medium in a way that they might not have been able to effectively on television. This isn’t breaking the mold, but rather, refining the mold in a way that fans of the show will love.

That being said, by doing that, The Bob’s Burgers Movie also can’t help but feel like a few episodes tied together to make a movie, just with slightly bigger stakes and more gorgeous animation. That’s not to say that The Bob’s Burgers Movie is disappointing in their first feature-length adventure—on the contrary—but those expecting a major shift from what the show usually does will be sorely disappointed.

Yet The Bob’s Burgers Movie knows what this series does well and embraces it fully. The one-liners are funnier, the songs have the opportunity to grow to momentous levels, the set pieces are a bit more intricate and exciting, and the family bonding moments are even greater. Dauterive and Bouchard’s script doesn’t overdo it with emotional moments, but when they lean into them, they pack a wallop, and the mystery at the center of this story will leave the audience guessing. And of course, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is hilarious, packed with delightful appearances from almost every character a fan could ask for, naturally groan-worthy puns, and voice performances that prove why this is one of the best voice casts on television today.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie isn’t exactly breaking new ground for this world and these characters, but instead, is showing how impeccably crafted and brilliant this world is when it’s firing on all cylinders. By focusing on the Belcher family and exploring their individual stories in interesting ways, The Bob’s Burgers Movie proves that the Belchers are one of the most wonderful families in animation history.

Rating: B

The Bob’s Burgers Movie comes to theaters on May 27.

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