The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie may be the most worthless thing I’ve ever seen, but I enjoyed it. I’m not a fan of a show, except for the few times I’ve flipped by and stopped to hear the its insane theme song, I’ve never even watched it. For some reason it’s beloved by both children and adults but I have a hard time choosing to watch something with the Nickelodeon logo plastered on it. Well, tonight I chose to sit through the spongy silliness, and don’t exactly regret it. At least I think I don’t.
SpongeBob SquarePants is exactly what you think he is, a yellow sponge who wears square pants. Cardboard to be exact. His movie opens with a rollicking live action piratical adventure, in which a group of salty sea dogs capture a treasure chest and open it to discover tickets. Tickets to the very movie you’re watching now, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. The pirates engage in a hearty pirate dance as they sail to a movie theater singing the show’s mad theme song about someone living in a pineapple under the sea, and then sack a theater lobby to load up on popcorn and goobers. It's the kind of inspired, lunatic chaos I haven't seen on screen since the Muppet movie. The film starts for the pirates as well as for me in my seat, and we’re watching the camera descend to SpongeBob’s animated world of Bikini Bottom right along with the yo ho ho crowd.
SpongeBob wakes up and is expecting a promotion down at the underwater fast food joint he slaves away at. There, they serve Crabby Patties, which are basically hamburgers presumably made out of crab. This is somewhat disturbing if you think about it, since the restaurant’s owner is a crab himself. But of course, this is a silly movie and things like that are pretty unimportant. SpongeBob is just a kid, but he’s dreamed of being the Crabby Patty manager for as long as he can remember, and getting this promotion is everything to him. So when he’s floored with the news that he didn’t get it, he’s crushed. Even more so when his boss Eugene tells him he missed out because he’s too much of a kid.
Eventually though, trouble starts in Bikini Bottom when someone steals King Neptune’s crown. Neptune blames Eugene, and SpongeBob, recovering from an all-night ice cream binge, steps up and volunteers to find the King’s crown in exchange for the life of his boss. Neptune agrees and so, taking only his best friend Patrick with him, SpongeBob hops in his Patty Wagon (a hamburger with pickle wheels) and roars off down the underwater highway to prove that he’s more than just a dumb kid.
SpongeBob continues mixing live action with animated spongery, and later in the movie those prove without a doubt to be the film’s most inspired moments amidst a lot of silly. But then you have to sort of expect silly, in a movie about a living sponge and his friend Patrick, a dim witted star fish, trying to find King Nemo’s crown before he turns their Crab boss into a tasty Red Lobster treat. The film is extremely random, weird, and well… pretty childish. But it’s aiming for a much younger crowd I think than even Pixar does and you’ve got to give them credit, they hit that target admirably. The strange thing is that all the little kid centered fun was also entertaining for me.
There are a couple of adult oriented jokes thrown in that the kids won’t get, but for the most part the movie is centered squarely on pretty child-like humor. The reason that’s still great, is simply that even the smallest of things in this film is incredibly original. Watching SpongeBob take a bath from the inside out for instance, is a ticklish wonder to behold. He jams a hose in the top of the head and lets the suds boil out through his porus body, then steps out of the suds to fold on a pair of literally square pants and meet the day. First he stops to brush his eyes, since apparently there’s no point in brushing sponge teeth.
Also of note is David Hasselhoff’s absolutely disturbed cameo towards the end of the film. It’s probably his best movie role ever, which admittedly isn’t saying much. It is also the best movie cameo I’ve seen since Fred Savage stuck a joint in his crotch and played a clarinet to charm the resulting smoke like a snake. The movie is worth renting in a few months simply to fast forward to Hasselhoff’s part, in which among other things, SpongeBob fights a battle on his butt.
The SpongeBob SquarePants movie happens in a world of bright and fun colors. A world filled with creatures singing loud and sometimes annoying songs, a world filled with basically a bunch of sea creature kids. If you’ve managed to stick with this review till now, you’re probably wondering why anyone who isn’t toting around young should bother with the film, besides a quick fast forward to Hasselhoff. Perhaps you shouldn’t. It’s geared towards a specific crowd, most notably those who for some inexplicable reason are already fans of the show or those with kids under the age of five. Still, should you end up in a seat for SpongeBob, you may strangely enough find yourself charmed by it.