Written by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean,
Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, David Mirkin
Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman
John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti
Directed by David Silverman
Running Time: 1:26
for irreverent humor throughout.
For fans of the TV show, The Simpsons Movie is well worth the wait.
The plot of the movie, as it is, revolves around Homer once again screwing up his marriage and the town of Springfield, this time by dumping pig poop into Lake Springfield. This causes a huge environmental disaster and leads the EPA to cover the entire city inside of a dome. Homer and family manage to escape, but must buck up the courage to return and save the city from utter annihilation.
The Simpsons TV show started back in 1989, the year before I got to college. So I feel almost like I've grown up with them. My friends and I used to get together every Thursday or Sunday night (depending on what season it was) and watch the episodes together. Sometimes we'd even have a repeat showing an hour later for those who missed it the first time around. For the first what, 10-12 seasons, there wasn't a better show on TV. The last few years however, the show has started to slide downhill, which is somewhat understandable after 400 episodes. I mean, how many story lines can you come up with? The biggest problem with the show, in my opinion, is that the writers started getting lazy and instead of writing sharp, on point dialogue, they went with the lowest common denominator. For instance, Homer has turned into an idiot, rather than a loveable buffoon who happens to have bad things happen him. So going into the movie, I was a little hesitant. It could have gone either way. I am happy to say that with a lot of the old guard of writers getting together, The Simpsons Movie goes back to the good old days of the TV show. I was laughing from the opening moments of the show, right to the very last gag.
The plot in the movie is almost unimportant. Homer falls in love with a pig and eventually causes an environmental catastrophe in Springfield. That could easily be the plot for any episode of the show. It's what happens in and around the story that made me laugh. I don't want to give away too much, but there are a thousand and one gags that take place during the film, most of which we haven't seen on the show in years. The writers also do a smart thing and realize that the fans of the show expect certain things, and they don't play us like idiots. It's a very smartly written movie with a lot of vocal humor you have to think about for a second.
Pretty much every character you loved from the show makes an appearance in the movie. There are a couple that are missing (like down-on-his-luck salesman Gil) and a lot of the secondary characters don't get much screen time (Apu for one!) but they all do have a line or two. The movie is mainly about the Simpson family and the relationship between Marge and Homer. But with so many memorable characters getting a couple of lines in a movie that's not even an hour and a half long, there are a lot of throwaway lines that are just hysterical. I'll give you one incident in the film that was my favorite part. Bart, on a dare from Homer, skateboards naked through the town. While we see more than we should see from a cartoon character, my favorite line comes when he skates by Ralph Wiggum and Ralph says "I like boys now." You kind of need to know the show to appreciate the humor. That's the other thing about the movie. It's rated PG-13, so there are a few lines and images that are more adult than you're used to seeing on TV, which of course only adds to the fun.
The big question is whether non-fans of the show are going to enjoy it, and to be honest, I'm not really sure. As I said, I've watched probably 398 out of the 400 episodes (the one with Mr. Burns searching for his bear Bobo and the parody of Cape Fear are far and away my favorites) so I know the show inside and out. But whether someone who doesn't know the characters all that well will like it is very hard to tell. I think a lot of the humor is universal, but I know a lot of the laughs I got came from knowing the characters and their tendencies.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I was happy with The Simpsons Movie. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the writing was as sharp as ever and the laughs just kept on coming.
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