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Spongebob Squarepants Movie, The

Fans of the Nickelodeon cult cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants rejoice! Keeping to the series' oddball sensibilities, the big-screen version sees the happy-go-lucky deep-sea sponge embark on a journey of a lifetime with his sidekick starfish friend Patrick.


SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg understands that to turn what is, in essence, a series of 10-minute segments into a 90-minute feature, it's necessary to keep things very simple. With that, he's envisioned a sort of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure for SpongeBob, in which the hapless hero sets out on a quest to find the balding King Neptune's treasured crown. We all know it's been stolen by that tiny, green, megalomaniacal, one-eyed sea creature known as Plankton--who sold it and has framed SpongeBob's boss, Mr. Krab, with the crime so he can be rid of him and rule the world--but the rest of Bikini Bottom doesn't, including King Neptune, who wants to turn Mr. Krab into an appetizer. Now, even though he has just been passed over for the promotion of his dreams, SpongeBob still believes his boss is innocent and convinces the king to spare Mr. Krab's life long enough to allow SpongeBob to go retrieve the crown. Along with his best pal Patrick, SpongeBob embarks on the treacherous mission, battling any number of obstacles in order to save Mr. Krab's life, restore order in Bikini Bottom, and prove once and for all he can be a real man…wait, a grown up…er, a big bad sponge? Yeah, something like that.


The whole gang is here, including standup comic Tom Kenny, who provides the high, nasal voice of SpongeBob; Bill Fagerbakke (TV's Coach) who voices the dopey but lovable Patrick; and the booming, I'm-master-of-the-universe voice of Mr. Lawrence as the evil Plankton. There are also a few celebrity voices thrown in for good measure, including Arrested Development's Jeffrey Tambor as the vain and insecure King Neptune; Scarlett Johansson as his kind and patient daughter, Mindy (who looks a little like Velma from the Scooby-Doo series); and Alec Baldwin as a malevolent hit man. But the best cameo of all belongs to David Hasselhoff, appearing as himself--in Baywatch mode, of course. Hasselhoff helps SpongeBob and Patrick, who find themselves in the ''real'' world, get back to Bikini Bottom safely and looks like he's having a ball poking a little fun at himself--as well he should.


Hillenburg, a former marine science teacher, created SpongeBob after he decided he wanted to do a sea cartoon and thought a square sponge wearing shorts who lives in a pineapple house in a world of real sea animals, was just the ticket. Sure, we get why the kids love it. The cartoon is madcap, slapsticky, gross-out fun, with SpongeBob and Patrick just big ol' kids themselves, living in an undersea community where eating Krabby Patties, showing your underwear and blowing bubbles are the bomb. It's the parents you gotta wonder about--the ones who say they are only watching it because their kids do but who secretly look forward to SpongeBob SquarePants episodes so they, too, can laugh their asses off. ''It's about keeping your kid-nature in life and not totally becoming a curmudgeon,'' Hillenburg explains--but it's more than that. SpongeBob's humor is oftentimes aimed completely at the adults, following the habits of some stellar predecessors such as the old Looney Tunes shorts and even more recently, Ren and Stimpy. Examples: SpongeBob and Patrick laughing manically for five minutes longer than they should; the two of them getting totally blasted after eating too many ice cream sundaes and then waking up the next morning in a puddle of their own sick; and confused side glances at the camera from some scary-looking sea monsters, who stop short from eating SpongeBob and Patrick after the two start singing about being real men, er, well, you know what I mean. Funny, funny stuff.

Bottom Line

If you're a kid with a great sense of humor or an adult who has a seriously disturbed affinity for talking sink utensils, then The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie will totally tickle your fancy.