movie film review | chris tookey

Simpsons Movie

  Simpsons Movie Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
7.00 /10
Voices:, Homer/Krusty the Clown/Itchy: Dan Castellaneta
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Directed by: David Silverman
Written by: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Al Jean, Ian Maxtone-Graham. George Meyer, David Mirkin, Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder and Jon Vitti

Released: 2007
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 85

So do the custard-coloured characters have what it takes now that – after 18 seasons and over 400 episodes on television - they’ve finally been blown up to much larger than life size, and stretched to feature length? The truth is: not quite. Even at 87 minutes, the picture sags and could have done with a sharper and more sustaining plot.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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The same worries evidently occurred to the movie’s creators. There’s an early gag when Homer Simpson wonders aloud why anyone would bother to buy a cinema ticket to watch what they can get free on TV. Homer reckons the only people who’d pay up are suckers. Pointing his finger out into the auditorium, he adds “That means you!”

The Simpsons Movie is like three episodes of the TV series, played back-to-back, with extra full-frontal nudity (wild child Bart Simpson gives us his downmarket equivalent of Daniel Radcliffe’s stage appearance in Equus). There are enough quirky and irreverent jokes to satisfy existing fans, but not enough characterization, plot or adventure to make converts.

Homer Simpson is, as always, an amiably dumb, slightly surreal screen presence. This time, for reasons which remain obscure, he falls in love with a pig. He teaches it to walk on the ceiling and serenades it with a song “Spiderpig”, set to the tune of Spiderman, the first of this summer’s blockbuster disappointments.

Meanwhile, his swotty, left-leaning daughter Lisa has become an ardent environmentalist, and fallen in love with an Irish boy who sounds like Bono. She is boring the locals with a town-hall presentation in the Al Gore mould, entitled “An Irritating Truth”.

In cavalierly disposing of his pig’s copious droppings, Lisa’s father pollutes his local Lake Springfield to such an extent that the eco-conscious but possibly illiterate US President Schwarzenegger (he refuses to read briefing documents, saying “I vos born to lead not read!”) decides to quarantine Springfield beneath a gigantic dome.

The imprisoned population turns on the Simpson family, whereupon they escape to Alaska, where – according to Homer – it is impossible to be too fat or too drunk. But home-sickness and Homer-sickness prove too much for Marge and her children, and they abandon dad to his huskies.

Fortunately, Homer is saved from life among the Alaskans by a large Native-American he calls, with characteristic sensitivity towards the fair sex, “Boob Lady”. In an epiphany that is possibly drug-induced, he realizes not that he is the missing member of Gordon Brown’s cabinet, but that he must return to save the town from destruction by President Schwarzenegger, who wants to bomb it until the resulting crater becomes a Grand Canyon-style tourist attraction.

In the somewhat improbable climax, Homer and Bart turn into action movie stars and indulge in father-son bonding while riding a wall-of-death motorcycle.

You will notice that this synopsis makes no mention of the town’s evil industrialist and nuclear power supremo, Montgomery Burns, and it’s a considerable weakness that the principal bad guy in the movie, a federal agent called Russ Cargill, is so unmemorable.

I liked the Simpsons best when they were more subversive and more determined to go against everything that’s politically correct.

Here, they seem to be moments when they’re going to satirise the green movement or Christian fundamentalists, but they always pull back and play safe. There’s a sentimental subplot where Bart pines to be adopted by the Christian family next door which wouldn’t have passed quality control in any of the early series.

The Simpsons have lost some of their verve and vitality, and virtually all of their viciousness. I laughed quite a few times, but when I came out I felt sad and dissatisfied.

The time for a Simpsons Movie was probably ten years ago, when the enthusiasm and energy were still there. The big-screen Simpsons are mildly entertaining, but too much of this is as flabby as Homer’s wobbly gut.

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