‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ needed more music


Photo: 20th Century Studios

Bob’s Burgers movie information is delicious. It just feels like a supersize Bob’s Burgers episode, and the main cast is in great shape, despite having to record at least partially from home during the pandemic. Beloved supporting characters appear, like police sergeant Bosco (Gary Cole) and gold-digging diva Fanny (Jordan Peele), but show creator Loren Bouchard, who co-wrote and co-directed the film, wisely avoid overloading the narrative with too many guest stars. The film develops inside jokes and shows staples, from Tina’s friend’s erotic fiction to Louise’s attachment to her bunny ears. But there’s one glaring problem that’s been bothering me ever since I left the theater: why wasn’t there more music?

Bob’s Burgers fans might have assumed that the first film of the animated sitcom would naturally take the form of a musical. Original music is essential for Bob’s Burgers, so much so that the series has released two albums and three holiday EPs over its 12-year run. Each episode features at least one new song, and some of the show’s best episodes are full-length musicals (“Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl,” “Flu-ouise,” “The Bleakening Pts. 1 and 2”). With the expanded budget and schedule of a film production, it would have seemed natural for Bouchard and longtime Bob’s Burgers collaborators Nora Smith and Bernard Derriman to pull out all the stops with a musical extravaganza. To neglect to do so would be like Bob neglecting to come up with a pun on the burger of the day.

It’s not that Bob’s Burgers movie information is songless. There are three musical numbers (four if you count a very short performance by Gene’s band the Itty Bitty Ditty Committee) spaced evenly across its 102-minute runtime. But it almost feels After glaring that no songs at all. After the first song, a peppy jam about the Belchers’ plans for a “sunny summer,” I thought: Shit, yeah, that is A musical! But the next song didn’t come until about halfway through the movie, when the Belcher kids sought out the carnies who work at Wonder Wharf, the seaside theme park, who sing and dance to “lucky ducks.” By the time Gene’s long-awaited concert arrived, I was as dissatisfied as after eating a fast food burger.

The songs of Bob’s Burgers set the tone of the world, highlight emotional moments and, of course, provide fertile ground for jokes. The music is how Gene and Linda bond (in several episodes, but most notably in “Sleeping With the Frenemy), how Louise explores her frustration (see “Flu-ouise”), and how Bob reaches a state of desperate euphoria. (“Something Old, something new, something Bob takes care of you”). The heightened feeling of a musical number opens up the characters’ inner worlds, and there are several opportunities for this in Bob’s Burgers movie information: Maybe a sweet duet between Tina and Fantasy Jimmy Junior who articulates her “summertime boyfriend” fears, or an angry march for Louise in which she hammers home that she’s not a baby. Maybe a silly song from Teddy when he introduces his homemade food cart.

I mean, three songs?? There are more songs in most musicals episodes of Bob’s Burgers! I have to imagine a full musical was planned but had to be scrapped due to pandemic restrictions. Asked about the film’s musical numbers, Bouchard told IndieWire, “We wanted to make it bigger and do as much spectacle as possible, so that it would fill the speakers and fill the room.” While this is true for each individual number – the animation team pulled out all the stops for the dance sequences, filling the big screen with colorful bodies moving in rhythm – they’re too scattered for the film to look like a ” musical performance”. “It’s really a shame, but I can think of a way for Bouchard and the whole Bob’s Burgers team to catch up with us: directing and filming a full production of “Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl,” hitting theaters in the summer of 2023. That’s what we deserve.


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