Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

The Simpsons Movie (David Silverman, 2007) [5]
Let's just call this a disappointment. In my younger days and in the golden years of the show (Seasons 4-8 or 9), I was a huge Simpsons fan. The last few years has seen the show dip into mediocrity and the looming clouds of disappointment that the movie would surely surround myself in kept me from seeing it in the theatre. It's basically what the television show has been for the last six or so years: a lot of nothing impressive peppered with an occasional laugh. What really bothers me most is that Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and all the writers admitted they wrote this film for the broadest audience possible. That may be good for Fox's box office receipts but it's antithetical to every subversive trait the show has shown over the years. That the film has none of the sharp satire and inside jokes that true Simpsons fanatics like myself is its biggest flaw. I think by now people have made up their minds if they like The Simpsons or not; you don't need a movie to win new converts this late in the game. Besides that, the story is another of the borderline ridiculous/frivolous ones that the show has been using for the past years. The writers could get away with this in older episodes (Frank Grimes, the Monty Burns Casino) because the show used to have one foot grounded in something realistic. The plot of this film is too much like a movie plot. I don't watch The Simpsons to see that; the whole Spider-Pig thing doesn't work for me. The only time the film really finds its groove of years past is the character of Russ Cargill, which should be no surprise since he's voiced by Albert Brooks, memorable for his great characters in the early seasons. It's the only time the humor attempts not to be broad and hence, not stale.

All of this might like sour grapes from another fan who says The Simpsons isn't close to what it used to be. You know what? It isn't but that doesn't mean I don't hate the show now and for all its flaws, I really can't dislike this movie. But after watching and waiting for 17 years, I really wanted something a little better.

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