Film — The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (PG)

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (PG)

by Amy Diaz

Elementary-school-kids and pot-smoking college students alike will cheer their absorbent hero in the charmingly nonsensical The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

How can you not love a movie wherein the most climatic action scene happens on David Hasselhoff’s back?

SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny) is almost orange he’s so rosy with anticipation at his coming promotion at the Krusty Krab, the fast-food establishment in Bikini Bottom where he fries up the Krabby Patties and dreams of saving the day by fulfilling that desperate order for cheese. But when the moment arrives for Mr. Krabs (Eugene Brown) to announce the promotion he names the surly and disinterested Squidward (Rodger Bumpass). This sends SpongeBob into a depression spiral that ends with an ice-cream binge and a sundae hangover. When he stumbles in to work the next morning, he tells Mr. Krabs off for ignoring all his valiant paddy-related service.

Unfortunately for Mr. Krabs, this dressing down couldn’t come a worse time. Rival restaurateur Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) has set up Krabs in an attempt to take him out of competition and steal his recipe for the super popular Krabby Paddy. Having failed at evil plans A-Y, Plankton turns to evil plan Z, which involves stealing  King Neptune’s (Jeffrey Tambor) crown and framing Krabs for the theft. Though Neptune wants to fry Krabs instantly, his more sensible daughter Mindy (Scarlett Johansson) convinces him to merely freeze Krabs for a few days while SpongeBob and his faithful friend Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) attempt to retrieve the crown from the faraway and dangerous Shell City. Along the way, they contend with Dennis (Alec Baldwin), a tough sent by Plankton, whose plans to dominate the restaurant business quickly come to include world domination.

Of course, no amount of plot description can truly explain what makes this movie such a bizarre treat. It’s the little moments — like the stages of ice-cream-inspired drunkenness or an out-of-nowhere musical number than includes a visual reference to Eddie Van Halen as well as a testament to the power of glam-rock to beat back mind control waves. And then there’s the aforementioned Hasselhoff scene where the former Baywatch star not only provides a surface on which Spongebob and Dennis stage their fight to the squish but also a damn fine mode of water travel.

 Because of the need to follow the plot, however screwy it becomes, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is not quite the off-the-wall joy that the television version of the cartoon. SpongeBob is at his squarey best when he is completely unencumbered by tradition requirements of arc, when, essentially, nothing happens storywise leaving room for a 100 unexpected, laugh-out-loud-funny non sequitor things to happen.

Despite sweating a bit within the confines of the movie, Spongebob is still, for the longtime fan and the newbie alike, plenty of goober fun.

- Amy Diaz 

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