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The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie

Starring: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke
Director: Sherm Cohen
Rated: PG
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: November 2004
Genres: Animation, Kids, Comedy, Family

*Also starring: Rodger Bumpass, Alec Baldwin, Mr. Lawrence, Clancy Brown, Carolyn Lawrence, Jeffrey Tambor, J.D. Crew, Sirena Irwin, Scarlett Johansson, James Earl Jones, Jasmine Martin

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Review by Harvey Karten
2½ stars out of 4

The title character–who gets his first name from his torso and his appellation from his slacks--is set to absorb the applause of its demos, probably kids from ages five to eight, with just a little bit of its overall theme to be appreciated by the big guys who take their tykes to the movies.

The story could not be simpler. SpongeBob (voice of Tom Kenny), lives downunder as a frycook in Bikini Bottom, passed over in his quest to become the manager of The Krusty Krab restaurant for which he has worked under the supervision of its manager, Mr. Krabs (voice of Clancy Brown). He doesn't take the humiliation lying down, yet when the time is ripe for revenge against his boss, he takes the moral high road and defends the egotistical crustacean.. Mr. Krabs is scheduled for execution by the ruler of the seas, King Neptune (voice of Jeffrey Tambor) because he is accused of stealing the crown that Neptune wears not so much as a symbol of his water-logged authority, but because the chapeau covers his bald pate. Convinced that Krabs is innocent, SpongeBob and his mentally challenged buddy, Patrick the Starfish (voice of Bill Fagerbakke), head for shell city in what passes for an aquatic road trip leading them on a dangerous venture where in one incident they become dehydrated and turned into actual sponges and the kind of starfish that wash up and become souvenirs of beach bums.

Voices of the creatures of the sea are from celebrities, both well-known and otherwise, such as Alec Baldwin, Rodger Bumpass, David Hasselhoff, Carolyn Lawrence, Jeffrey Tambor and Scarlett Johansson, with a real-live Hasselhoff's joining his ocean-loving critters by ferrying SpongeBob and Patrick across the water on his back. The series has had TV exposure for several seasons and has led to a proliferation of souvenirs and videogames. There's not enough in the current movie to distract the adults in the audience, since the tale will never be confused with Brad Bird's two animated near-masterworks, "The Iron Giant" and "The Incredibles." Some of the more sensitive kiddies might be frightened by talk of executions at the hands of King Neptune and his flaming pitchfork but should be absorbed enough by the bright colors, the rapid take-no-break pace, and the mental accuity of all creatures save Patrick.

Copyright © 2004 Harvey Karten

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