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Overall Rating
3.71

Awesome: 21.25%
Worth A Look45%
Average: 23.75%
Pretty Bad: 3.75%
Total Crap: 6.25%

6 reviews, 44 user ratings


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SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, The
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by Todd LaPlace

"Just for kids? Don’t be a Knucklehead McSpazzatron."
4 stars

There have been three “Rugrats” movies. Apparently the first two just left too many unanswered questions that needed to be answered in a third. It’s just enough to make one weary of all Nickelodeon movies. Thank you, SpongeBob, for restoring my faith in unnecessarily goofy cartoons.

For the first time in years, a 2-D animation film has looked into the critically loved monopolizing eyes of 3-D giant and laughed. The big screen adaptation of Nickelodeon’s kid- and stoner-hit “SpongeBob SquarePants” took the clips that make up each episode’s 22 minutes and crafted a movie that is both good for kids and the adult forced to shell out an extra $10 to chaperone.

With other recent animated movies drowning in their over-abundance — “Shark Tale” with its celebrity voices, “The Polar Express” with its graphics and five different uses of Tom Hanks — “SpongeBob” should come as a welcome change. The film is sweet in some places, moral in others and just plain silly for the entirety.

The film’s moral center should come as no surprise, as it is the “you can do anything you set your mind to” gold standard of kiddy flicks. The film’s spongy protagonist is repeatedly told that he is too much of a child to head outside the limits of his town, Bikini Bottom. Of course, SpongeBob ignores all of his detractors as he is destined to travel the long journey to Shell City, the tough as nails resting place of King Neptune’s stolen crown. Let’s just hope this doesn’t lead to a rash of tots taking on the back alleys of New York.

Parents are also going to have to watch out that their kids don’t start running around naked and downing liquor to drown their sorrows. This seemingly innocent kids movie is full of adult themes that seem out of place in this type of environment. If parents were upset at Nicolette Sheridan for dropping her towel in front of a burly football player, how are they going to react to SpongeBob crashing his male neighbors shower to help scrub his back? How are they going to feel when SpongeBob goes on a serious bar bender and winds up helping the villainous Plankton incriminate SpongeBob’s boss for the crown heist? Granted, the bender is on ice cream sundaes, but it doesn’t look like the government cares much about context when it comes to “protecting our children.”

Any moment that doesn’t involve these adult themes, though, should more than redeem this film to even the most disconcerting parent. The vast majority of this film is just as innocently loopy as the small screen version. The film opens with a gaggle of eye-patched and battle-scarred pirates preparing for the return of their pirate captain as he rows a big chest of (presumably stolen) pirate booty back to the pirate ship. Of course, the pirates open the chest and they are thrilled to discover a treasure of “SpongeBob” movie tickets inside, which they happily use to storm a random and inexplicably-placed dock-adjacent movie theater.

Another scene finds SpongeBob and pal Patrick preparing their long and dangerous journey to Shell City by borrowing the promotional car belonging to SpongeBob’s place of work, the Krusy Krab restaurant. As any typical manly man would, the two comment on the car’s pristine sesame seed finish and fine pickle tires before swiping it for the journey. After Patrick questions his friend’s ability to drive, SpongeBob casually quips back, “You don’t need a license to drive a sandwich.”

The show’s appealing comedy is an easy transfer between mediums as the show’s creator and frequent writer, Steven Hillenberg, makes the leap to the big screen too. Similar leaps have often faltered in their cinematic outings because of a lack of cohesion with the show. “Doug” creator Jim Jinkins had already left his show by the time the film was made, and the innocence, sweetness and goofyness of the title character, his romantic conquest and best friend, respectively, was lost making the transition. Conversely, “The Powerpuff Girls” movie held onto the same giddy tone of the show when creator Craig McCracken wrote and directed the film himself.

It is that sense of connection between the two entities that makes Mr. Hillenberg’s use of celebrity cameos unexplainable. “SpongeBob” has always succeeded as a light-hearted, goofy show. It has no need for celebrities to step in to make the film more marketable. When George Clooney wanted to get involved with “South Park,” creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone had the good sense to cast the actor as Stan’s gay dog, giving him no more dialogue than the occasional “ruff.” Mr. Hillenberg may have done well to learn from these guys. Sure, it’s nice for the adults in the audience to get a small thrill from recognizing appearances from Alec Baldwin, Scarlett Johansson and “Arrested Development’s” Jeffrey Tambor, but their respective characters knock a number of show’s supporting cast to mere bit players in the film. Unless Ms. Johansson or Mr. Tambor decide to revive their roles on the small screen, their appearances are nothing more than distracting.

Also slightly off-putting are weird references to obscure and old pop culture. The core audience is sure to not notice these little elements, as even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles must seem ancient, but the silliness is noticeably interrupted for all of those old enough to understand. As those who have seen previews are already know, “Baywatch” star David Hasselhoff makes a non-animated appearance that thrills the two 2-D travelers, but about all those audience members that weren’t alive in the early ‘90s? And do those born before the ‘80s have a clue as to why SpongeBob would choose “I Want to Rock” as the song to play during his musical interlude? Do kids today understand comments like, “These chops are too righteous”?

But all of these are just minor quibbles. The majority of the absurd references nothing more than silly fun. The same absurdity Mr. Hillenberg has brought to his film is nothing more than the same absurdity a number of other successful kids shows have employed in the past. Rattling off the distracting references to “The Wizard of Oz” doesn’t stop “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” from being a good movie, so why should Twisted Sister references stop “SpongeBob” from being the same?

These little asides are probably more for the other core audience of “SpongeBob”; stoner slackers. I’m sure “Orange County’s” Lance Brumder (Jack Black) and “Saturday Night Live’s” Gobi (Horatio Sanz) would be thrilled when SpongeBob picked up a guitar to shred an ‘80s hair band classic. I’m sure they’re also the ones who appreciate SpongeBob embracing his lack of maturity when everyone else is criticizing it. This film must seem like the perfect film; validation for their immature slacker lifestyle as well as jokes that must seem piles funnier under the influence of drugs.

But more than anything, this film is for the kids. While a number of other animated movies have gone over the top with their adult asides — “Shrek 2” couldn’t go two minutes without making a joke about Starbucks or “COPS” — “SpongeBob” stays true to its goofy roots. The morals are uplifting, the colors are bright, the characters are cheerful and the worst insult thrown at SpongeBob is “Knucklehead McSpazzatron.” If that’s not enough to draw in the kids (and the occasional immature adult), than there is something wrong with these mature kids today.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11159&reviewer=401
originally posted: 05/13/05 08:13:19
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User Comments

11/21/17 Louise Brilliant fun and deliciously absurd! 5 stars
10/14/09 Quamel Williams 205-420-3155 Spongebob is the best ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Never laughed so hard in my Life!! 5 stars
10/03/07 wall lame 1 stars
6/17/07 Tiffany Losco funny, sponge bob is so silly. 4 stars
1/28/07 William Goss Has some moments that are both aggressively batshit insane and genuinely snickerworthy. 3 stars
12/06/06 Dude STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/12/06 Hotapplepie A good fun movie that mixes the comedy of the show with new style art. 4 stars
8/23/06 Kris i think spongebob sould marry Sandy Cheeks 5 stars
8/15/06 sharnae i love the spongebob movie so much i think spongebob is my boyfrind 4 stars
8/14/06 Sharon this movie makes me wanna throw up!! it makes me feel sick!! 1 stars
4/03/06 JRE this movie makes the cartoon look horrible. 1 stars
2/14/06 Quigley it had its moments of classic spongebob humor, but a movie probably wasn't necessary. 4 stars
9/18/05 tony Peice of fucking shit son of a bitch cartoon. sponge bob needs to fucking die!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
8/27/05 EZ Nice ass Patrick 4 stars
8/11/05 charisse i love spongebob 5 stars
8/08/05 Del True to the TV show 4 stars
8/07/05 Elaine My eight-year-old son and I thoroughly enjoyed the zany humor. 5 stars
8/05/05 Stephanie Garzon it was not funny... it was hallarious 4 stars
6/30/05 Peter L The movie is the Marx Brothers standard for this century. Full of Quotable Quotes. 5 stars
6/30/05 Eric Crooks It could have been better. 4 stars
6/07/05 Darcy I like the 1/2 cartoon.... 2 stars
6/02/05 me dont even look 1 stars
5/22/05 Cham If you like the show, the movie will surely please you. 3 stars
5/19/05 wendy rogers I LOVE Spongebob and the movie was ok but not nearly as good as the shows! 4 stars
5/17/05 Neon Very Funny 5 stars
5/05/05 Kristi i had so much fun watching the movie! spongebob is my fave cartoon!!! 5 stars
5/02/05 Teri TORTURE 2 stars
4/21/05 julie it was so funny 5 stars
3/06/05 sbpat21 I turned it off feeling really, really good. 5 stars
3/05/05 tatum It's a cartoon, and they address all this on the series, Evangelica! 4 stars
2/25/05 Gray stonerriffic crap 2 stars
2/25/05 Evangelica Schnapfenschalz Full of goofs - teardrops, sweat droplets, bubbles, fire - all under water! 3 stars
2/08/05 Jeff Anderson It's not ashamed at what it is. A COLORFUL, HIGH-SPIRITED, & HILARIOUS GOOD TIME, SO THERE! 5 stars
2/01/05 Mary Anne Love the show - liked the movie, but would have been funnier at 30 minutes. 3 stars
1/12/05 Tom Benton Not as good as the show, but it has its moments. 3 stars
1/09/05 Lauren Thompson Thats the humour of this movie, a sponge working in an underwater burger joint. 5 stars
12/01/04 KingNeutron Spongebob roxxors your theator! Only weak point was Hasslehoff. 4 stars
11/30/04 Trigger Greatest cartoon ever made. 5 stars
11/23/04 me Fricken awesome: wanna see it a jillion times more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/22/04 Wendy Livingood Vance I figured out that I went to highschool with Kent O! My daughter loves Spongebob. 3 stars
11/21/04 bullit16 I love the show ... but the movie just didn't do it for me 3 stars
11/21/04 Kristina Williams he lives in a pineapple and I love him 5 stars
11/15/04 Jimmy Kustes I was expecting much more songs 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Nov-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 01-Mar-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  06-Jan-2005




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