“The Simpsons Movie” affirms its’ TV legacy
Many, both critics and fans alike have called “The Simpsons” the best television show of the past two decades, and considering its durability of 18 years now, its success is hard to argue. Of course, shows like the incredibly average “Everybody Loves Raymond” can last for 10 years too, so popularity alone can’t be the sole barometer of quality.
But “The Simpsons” has a unique appeal-when the show first began back in the 80s (Tracy Ullmann on whose show the cartoon first appeared was a household name!) its satirical look at a dysfunctional family appealed to Baby Boomers who were young parents at the time. Their children grew up watching the show as it seemed to get more political yet more heartwarming and now appeals to a whole new generation where youngsters may watch the Sunday night episodes or the plentiful syndicated showings alongside their young grandparents. The fact that the creators were reluctant to make a big screen version despite the demands of their audience was a good sign. Few TV shows transfer well to the big screen. In fact, none come to mind.
The movie version is all its fans could hope for. The writers ( a list too long to cite here) couldn’t resist the freedoms a PG-13 rating offers so sensitive viewers should be warned that some religious expletives and one scene of nudity come with the additional time a movie adaptation affords. But the pungent humor is still there in spades.
Pick any five minutes of “The Simpsons Movie” and you’ll find it contains more creative humor than an entire film’s worth of current Hollywood formula comedy. There’s a plot of course, in this case the city of Springfield is endangered because of Homer’s toxic waste blunder but along the way the film skewers its familiar targets family, religion, the Gov’t., law enforcement, and stupid people in general. But before you detractors sense some subversive agenda here, as the TV show has been illustrating for years now, “The Simpsons Movie” is not just about casting a cynical, mean-spirited eye on America’s hallmarks. Ned Flanders, for example, the born again, annoyingly friendly neighbor comes out a bit of a hero, and despite all of the familial disturbance caused mainly by Homer’s incessant selfishness, an emotionally satisfying conclusion provokes well earned warm and fuzzies.
As good and rewarding it is to its fans, “The Simpsons Movie” is not likely to win many new fans and its not as on target as some of its best episodes. But undoubtedly, the big screen version of the legendary TV series is a fitting tribute and is worth the wait.
Rated PG-13 (for irreverent humor throughout)