As a service to our reader(s), the DN will, from time to time, offer a view from the aisle seat as only we can – semi-sober, badly sourced, and proudly biased. First up: Homer’s odyssey in the just-released “The Simpsons Movie.” If you haven’t been following the Simpson family, now 18 seasons on, and you can’t understand what all the fuss is about then, well, you’re in luck. Because this movie’s crap.
Make that “craptastic.” There really is nothing new for fans of Springfield’s most infamous family here. The movie takes shots at two very big, very worthy targets in religion and environmentalism, but the whole 87-minute film ends up coming off little better than three average Mike Scully-conceived episodes. (Scully, according to legions of fanboys, is the gremlin responsible for sabotaging the cartoon’s complex social satire in favor of cheap punch lines and ridiculous scenarios, such as one unmemorable episode in which Homer is fondled by a panda.)
Me, I like absurdist laughs as much as the next loser, but “The Simpsons Movie” lacked even that. Creative sight gags notwithstanding, this was in many ways only an average feature-length cartoon. Understandably, not every character gets a piece of the spotlight, but some of the editing decisions left me scratching my bald head (no Snake?!). The jokes were many; the truly theater-shaking belly laughs very, very few. I had high hopes for “The Simpsons Movie” – unreasonably high as it turns out – but even by a modest fan’s expectations the movie fails to deliver. “The Simpsons,” the television show, not the movie, will be with us, I hope, for years to come. As an introduction to Matt Groening’s wonderful cultural zeitgeist I’d recommend this film with few reservations. But for longtime fans who have waited years for a big-screen version, “The Simpsons Movie” tries but can only fail. The lesson for future box-office iterations of this venerable cartoon franchise? “Never try.”