Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water

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Title: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Did They Keep The Elevator Scene? You're thinking of 50 Shades of Grey. And ew.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Three Bikini Atoll H-bomb tests out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Mutant sea creatures rise from the ocean's depths to terrorize mankind, consume fast food.

Tagline: "Making waves in our world."

Better Tagline: "My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos, ruined dreams, this wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Sponge Warrior. The man we called 'Bob.'"

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: When the Krabby Patty secret formula mysteriously disappears, idealistic fry cook SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kinney) and fast-food rival Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) form an unlikely partnership to recover it before their hometown of Bikini Bottom descends further into postapocalyptic chaos. Yes, really.

"Critical" Analysis: Technically a sequel to 2004's SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Sponge Out of Water doesn't really require you to have absorbed the convoluted plot elements of the first film. Similarly, even if you're not familiar with Nickelodeon's long-running (since 1999) TV series, you shouldn't have too difficult a time keeping up.

The basics are established up front: SpongeBob works with Squidward (Rodger Bumpass) at the Krusty Krab for the venal Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown) and is best friends with Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) the starfish and Sandy the squirrel (Carolyn Lawrence). Yes, it's true, in this strange nuclear nightmare, chordates, echinoderms and poriferans are able to communicate and socialize together. I doubt, however, that creationists will be uniting to celebrate this fact.

As in the 2004 movie, the action revolves around the fabled secret recipe for Krabby Patties, the primary (and apparently highly addictive) source of nutrition for the residents of Bikini Bottom. How everyone from Plankton to SpongeBob himself has managed to go more than a decade without memorizing what has to be -- at most -- an eight-ingredient recipe escapes me, though they at least try to explain the latter's inability to do so (it's in the fine print of his contract with Mr. Krabs).

But never mind that, because Sponge Out of Water is nucking futs, as the nuns at my Catholic school used to say. I watched it with two of my daughters and my niece, and not only were they wholly engrossed in a theatrical movie to the exclusion of asking for more popcorn or Raisinets, but there was enough surreal goofiness to please even the most jaded of parents. Ever wondered what it's like to enter SpongeBob's brain? Plankton finds out in a bizarre sequence reminiscent of Lisa's "lizard queen" Simpsons scene. How about seeing a robotic Mr. Krabs (and how did I not know the Kurgan voiced him all these years)?

Or maybe you just wanted an immortal space dolphin shooting lasers out of its blowhole, because they've got that, too.

It's also genuinely funny. Between Antonio Banderas's unabashed turn as the villainous "Burger-Beard," the depiction of Bikini Bottom as a Road Warrior-esque wasteland (complete with oceanic versions of Wez and the Humungus), and a half-dozen throwaway visual gags aimed at potentially bored parents, I'd say I laughed out loud twice as many times as I did during A Million Ways to Die in the West. Except I laughed zero times during that movie, so the math doesn't add up. Suffice it to say, The SpongeBob Movie is nautical nonsense of the highest order, and that's not a bad thing.

Ask A Five-Year Old: Q: What was your favorite part? A: When SpongeBob pulled down Patrick's pants.*

*To be fair, this was the unanimous answer from all three children I attended the screening with. Kids.

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