Movie Review: Sponge tasted better on television

By Jaime Burnet

All your Spongebob paraphernalia is laid out on the bed like it’s a drug bust: the taped episodes, Patrick Star cuddle pillow, Bikini Bottom alarm clock, Spongebob Squarepants pajamas, the rug you spent hours hooking those tiny bits of wool into so that gap toothed grin would welcome you every morning. You are a self-admitted addict and on Nov. 19, you have reached your Graceland. However, a warning should be issued to people like you-The Spongebob movie is not The Spongebob TV show.

Not only is Spongebob bigger, squarer, spongier and more absorbent, he is grosser. The crusty, swollen, purple and bloodshot duo of a hungover Spongebob and Patrick (don’t worry, mothers of the world, it’s a Goofy Goober ice cream hangover), are less cute, they’re more of a Ren and Stimpy. Though, it’s great to watch the two friends tackle round after round of sundaes and deteriorate into inebriated fools, as it’s sure to cause the resurfacing of many treasured memories for many individuals (hopefully) over twelve. This is the magic of Bikini Bottom-the real world rendered innocent, all with a nautical twist.

New characters are another aspect of the movie distinguishing it from the show. Scarlett Johansson seems slightly out of place as Mindy the Mermaid, portrayed a bit more mature for the ridiculous mentality of the other characters. But Mindy will be ruling the sea one day, so perhaps a little maturity is a good thing. And David Hasselhoff, in superhero form, is unquestionably awesome, complete with his cancerous Baywatch skin of lobster-red. Spongebob, you just stepped in a blister!

It seems obvious, but some fans may have unrealistic expectations of the ease with which an eleven-minute show can stretch into a feature length film. And it does feel like a stretch. Momentum gets lost in the plot, along with the show’s characteristic whimsical lightness. Having Spongebob’s problems solved by magical tear drops of friendship and apparently awesome laser blasting power of rock music takes away from the charm of the real life situations Spongebob encountered on television. Those are funny because they’re true…somewhat. And in the movie the best jokes are the simplest ones, true to classic Spongebob form. The peak of hilarity could quite possibly be the two words Patrick utters in awe after he’s saved from the terrifying Alec Baldwin’s Dennis the Hitman-“Bigger boot.”

“I never really wanted to make a movie, because I always thought shorts were the best thing for animation,” says creator Stephen Hillenburg, and he may be right. Kids will still love the movie, if only because it’s Spongebob, but our porous yellow friend seems out of place on the big screen, just like when he and Patrick leave home and venture out into the unknown. It all works out in the end, for Mr. Squarepants and Mr. Hillenburg, but as relieved Spongebob is to be back in Bikini bottom, his fans will be happy to see him return to their TV sets.

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