Film Review: The Simpsons Movie

by Molly Kenney

The Simpsons proved itself long ago to be incredibly well-written, intellectual, and entertaining television fare. But, as several other popular shows have shown, the leap from the small screen to the big is difficult and dangerous. As if waving a yellow middle finger in the face of these failures, The Simpsons’ transition is smoother than a cold can of Duff and Lisa’s saxophone jazz. Simply put, The Simpsons Movie is fantastic.

The film manages to maintain both humor and a plot line, cracking jokes even before the opening credits begin and building the story from the first scene. Grandpa Abe has a spiritual revelation at church, discovering in a cryptic message that misfortune is imminent. As Bart realizes that Homer isn’t the most supportive father in the world, Homer brings home a pig and sets the wheels of doom in motion. Despite Lisa’s campaign (which may remind you of similar campaign by former Vice President Al Gore) to clean up Lake Springfield and the town’s environmentalist efforts, Homer dumps a silo full of his new pig’s waste into the lake. Thus begins the path to Springfield’s destruction. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its director, voiced by Albert Brooks, obtain clearance from President Arnold Schwarzenegger (as voiced by Simpsons regular Harry Shearer) to isolate and destroy Springfield. Bart (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) longs to be one of the Flanders clan, and Lisa (Yeardley Smith) falls in love. Marge (Julie Kavner) and Homer (Dan Castellaneta) confront their marital problems in Alaska, and Springfield disintegrates into a war zone, while Green Day and Tom Hanks join the fun. It’s hysterical chaos, a Simpsons trademark.

The humor is crisp and as always, the writers found the perfect balance of timely political jokes and mad-cap mania. Although the film features dozens of regular Simpsons characters, the spotlight is almost completely on the Simpson family. While the hilarity of day-to-day life in Springfield and its many faces are benched, the film’s focus keeps the plot moving and the running time under two hours. As the film starts, Homer is in a movie theater yelling at his fellow patrons for stupidly paying to watch a film based on the Itchy and Scratchy TV show, which they could all be watching for free. The Simpsons' writers take their own joke seriously and flawlessly execute a feature-length Simpsons.

The Simpsons Movie (rated PG-13) was good enough to fill a theater on a rainy Sunday night and to interrupt the vigorous public display of true love and hormones that was taking place in the two seats next to me. The Simpsons continues to prove itself a comedic institution with Homer, doughnut in one hand and Bart’s neck in the other, at the helm.

(The Simpsons Movie took in almost $72 million this past weekend. Promotional film poster from 20th Century Fox. To see a trailer for the film, please check below.)

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