No matter your angle, The Simpsons Movie is undeniably fun
You should know right away that you’re dealing with a reviewer who has seen every episode of The Simpsons television show—all 403 of ’em—and most episodes several times (some, even dozens of times). There is no mistaking where this is coming from here. I am one of those (insert: “obsessed” or “insane” or “smrt” [sic]) people.
I’m also one of those people who is a slave to the hype of big events. So, combine the Simpsons obsession with Fox’s constant clanging of every marketing bell—from movie trailers to Krusty Burgers and Buzz Colas at 7-11—and my Pavlovian saliva has been frothed to a constant state of Homer drool (Mmm … Homer drool).
But just because this comes from the kind of nerd who regularly inserts Simpsons references into casual conversations, doesn’t mean this is going to be some fan-boy critique. I’ll spare you the geeky giddiness over the TV show’s historical subtexts bubbling over in the PG-13 domain of the film—Otto the bus driver toking on an actual bong, Marge Simpson using a curse word, or the perpetually morals-free Homer Simpson making sexual advances toward his new pig friend ("Maybe we should kiss to break the tension?").
I also don’t want to write an essay about the “cultural phenomenon” or the “irreverent social satire.” Just because the film has a presidential adviser (head of the EPA Russ Cargill, voiced by Albert Brooks) whose private company profits from the military actions doesn’t mean there are any jabs taken at politics in the real world. Just as a bumbling Arnold Schwarzenegger as president or a Lisa Simpson environmental presentation titled An Irritating Truth can hardly be called comical riffs on current events that are actually relevant, right?
And I’m certainly not about to spend any time comparing it to the much more exciting and fulfilling big-screen jump made by fellow subversive animated TV show South Park in 1999. Sure, The Simpsons Movie‘s opening includes a fleeting shot of a little yellow penis on a skateboard, but compare that to the glorious F-bomb homage that opened Bigger, Longer and Uncut, and it’s not even dang-diddley close.
The best way to approach The Simpsons Movie is as a movie playing in a theater just like all the other movies.
How is it? It’s funny as hell.
It’s a given that Homer is the most dysfunctional father ever, and here he ups the self-centered ante by creating such an enormous environmental stink that he alienates his long-suffering family and dooms the entire town of Springfield to government-sanctioned annihilation. It’s a predictably insane ride to redemption for Homer, and as you hang on, the hilarious one-liners are constant ("I was elected to lead, not to read,” says President Schwarzenegger), as are a succession of classic Springfield moron-think asides (Chief Wiggum eating free donuts off the barrel of his pistol and nearly shooting his face off)—and, of course, there’s also Homer’s Spider Pig.
It’s exactly like an episode of the TV show, only three times as long and with more crisp animation and no commercials. Stick around through the credits if you want to hear Maggie’s first word. It start with “s” and rhymes with equal.