The Simpsons Movie: Dollars To D’oh!nuts You’ll Like It!

The Simpsons Movie - onesheetWith eighteen seasons of sublime silliness, social commentary and occasional missteps to draw on, there were plenty of ways for The Simpsons Movie to succeed brilliantly or flop miserably. What the seventeen writers of the film came up with was, well, moments of sublime silliness, social commentary and occasional missteps. The result is a movie that has more laugh-out-loud moments than anything else this year – short of Knocked Up.

The Simpsons has been a target for politicians [Dubya’s campaign promise that the Republicans would be strengthening family values so that American families would become more like The Waltons and less like The Simpsons…] as often as it has targeted them [President Schwartzeneggar in the movie – as just one example]. But, as with the series, the movie takes only a couple of shots in that direction, preferring to concentrate on such hot button topics as the environment and censorship [“I’ll teach you to laugh at something that’s funny!”].

Seriously, though, The Simpsons Movie skims over political, environmental and other hot button issues with the skill of a nude Bart Simpson skateboarding to school and back home on a dare [when you see the movie, you’ll get my point]. Mostly, the movie is a smart look at stupid people – since the whole thing revolves around Homer’s accidental destroying of Lake Springfield and the consequences of his actions.

The Simspons Movie - Dogsledding

There is so much going on in The Simpsons Movie that it’s hard to believe that it follows on the heels of eighteen seasons of television. From Homer’s job checklist [including filling a sinkhole that plays a key role later in the film] to Bart’s blackboard lines, the movie feels bigger and stronger than most recent eps of the series. There’s also an unexpected [and hilarious] shot at the show’s home TV network.

As in the series, once Homer screws up to kick things off, we know he’ll find a way to bail himself out. It’s the idiocies in between that determine whether the film works or not – and most of those moments range from pretty good to brilliant. The manner in which Homer acquires transportation for the family to flee the hordes of screaming villagers with pitchforks and torches [er… the citizens of Springfield] is classic [as is the horror movie mob, for that moment]. And it pays off at a later point in the movie, which turns Homer’s idiocy into heroism…

A touch that most of the kids won’t get: after giving us a Green Day arrangement of The Simpsons’ Theme [which is pretty cool] to open the movie, the closing credits run over arrangements of the theme that reflect Aaron Copeland and John Williams’ score for Superman: The Motion Picture [among others]. And you should stay through the credits for a couple of excellent bits near their beginning – and a terrific one right at the end.

As my nephew succinctly put it, The Simpson Movie is “ninth season funny” – and that’s pretty funny!

Final Grade: B

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