The Simpsons Movie
Director: David Silverman (Monsters Inc, Road to El Dorado)
Writer: James L. Brooks
Producers: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Richard Sakai, Mike Scully
Starring: voices of - Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Hank Azaria
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 87 min
read my spoiler disclaimer

reviewed by Andrew James
     The longest running television show in history finally gets a chance in Hollywood. How does it measure up? Well, the producers brought back almost all of the writers from the entire span of the show (sadly no Conan O'Brian) and sat down for almost a year to crank out a script worthy of the big screen. Happily, they have succeeded in that mission. It's not without some flaws, but if nothing else, The Simpsons is easily worth the ten bucks paid to get in.

      If you're unfamiliar with The Simpsons, A) what planet do you live on? and B) you can still enjoy this film and get a kick out of almost everything that occurs. Sure there are some "in" jokes for die hard fans of the show and you might not understand each and every nuance of the vast amount of characters, but for the most part, this movie was made for everyone.

      After some environmental problems, the town of Springfield has made it illegal to dump any waste at all into the lake. Homer, under the spell of doughnut temptation, decides to ignore the law and dump some fairly nasty waste into the lake anyway. When President Schwarzanegger finds out, he and his top advisor from the EPA (voiced by Albert Brooks) decide to quarantine Springfield with a giant plexiglass d'ohme. When the townspeople realize this is Homer's fault, The Simpsons must go into hiding before trying to find a way to save Springfield (and their marriage) before the EPA blows it up.

      A fairly simple story line is made up for with wise crack after joke after insult after one-liner. The Simpsons is a mile a minute laugh riot that had me going from the first minute to the last (yes, STAY for the credits!). Is it the best comedy of the year? Probably not. But has it got the most laughs? Definitely. In my old age, my cynicism has gotten the best of me and the ability of a movie to really get me to laugh has waned in the past few years. Not with The Simpsons. I was completely in stitches at every turn.

      Although I haven't watched many recent episodes of the television show, I am savvy enough to see what is beloved so much by so many fans for so many years. Although earlier I stated that this is a film for everyone (and it is), there are plenty of moments for those who are religious fans of the show. Although I can't confirm it, I would not be surprised to learn that every single character ever shown in The Simpsons universe appears at least briefly on screen in this film. Not to mention a few great cameos that were great surprises for me. There are also little things to watch for; like the ambulance Homer took after trying to jump Springfield Gorge on Bart's skateboard oh so many years ago, is still smashed against the tree where it crashed - nice touch.

      Contrary to what I had heard and read previous to seeing the film, this isn't the epic it has been called. It is not anything really all that much different from the show (other than the length). Sure the production value is slightly higher as is evident by some of the "camera" sweeps of depth and the sheer number of voice talent, but all in all, this is a longer version of any episode you might see on TV. It's likely not even the best "episode" within the series. In that way I can't say The Simpsons is a "must-see in the theaters" type of film. It will work just as well on your TV set when the DVD is released (probably just before Christmas).

      The humor in the film is not just a series of fart and booger jokes that you might expect. It is a mish-mash of political satire, one-liners, pop-culture references, visual gags, plays on words and various tactics (like some pot shots at "evil" corporations, including the very studio that produces the TV show and film) that will keep you laughing non-stop. Some of the best product placement in a film I have yet to see is scattered throughout The Simpsons Movie in a way that is just sheer genius.

      Simply put, The Simpsons Movie is likely the funniest movie you'll see in 2007. It portrays probably the most iconic television characters in history in all their yellow glory. It has the perfect running length for an animated film and just seems to fit nicely in the pocket of my film repertoire. It would serve you well to join the pop-culture phenomenon and see the film as soon as you can. If for no other reason than to see Bart's penis.

Click "play" to see the trailer:

IMDb profile - full cast and crew
Official Site
Flixster Profile for The Simpsons Movie