The kids in the crowd sure enjoyed the antics of SpongeBob. And Patrick and Plankton. Mr. Krabs and Squidward. Burger Beard and Karen the Computer Wife.
The wee watchers were tittering at the Saturday matinee showing of SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Pretty much, it seemed that their adult escorts were happy with the 93 minutes of silliness, too.
And why not?
The children had all of the things that they’ve come to love on the famous Nickelodeon cartoons that feature SpongeBob SquarePants, the character from the pineapple beneath the sea, living in his wild world of Bikini Bottom, down there working as a cook serving up Crabby Patties to all of the funny critters who share that peculiar but amazingly comfortable habitat.
We adults, meanwhile, had the knowledge that the squeaks and squeals and squelches coming out of that SpongeBob mouth of his were from the imagination and vocal cords of one of own, East Syracuse native Tom Kenny, the Hollywood voice meister who also provided the soundtrack funnies as Dog in CatDog and The Mayor in PowderPuff Girls and in his storied past was called Tomcat when he paired with another funny guy named Bobcat Goldthwait in a troupe called the Generic Comics before the rest became quite cool history.
And, oh, yeah, the story and dialogue from writers Glenn Berger and Jonathan Aibel and director Paul Tibbitt was filled with plenty of puns that likely went over the head of the young ‘uns but certainly made this older one smile.
In short, and not to spoil too much, SpongeBob is not only entrusted by boss Mr. Krabs to cook all those tasty Crabby Patties, he’s supposed to help guard the secret recipe stowed in the safe from the always scheming Plankton, whose Chum Bucket restaurant he runs across the way with his computer wife Karen is forever desolate because of its lousy food. But something odd occurs to that recipe as SpongeBob and Plankton grapple for a grip, and that leads to strange partnerships, new bonds, time travel — and a trip to real-live movie Hollywood, where everybody seems to be musclebound and all characters must ramp up their games a notch or 12.
The message to play nice bubbles beneath the surface — pun intended, naturally — and there’s enough slightly nasty edge to keep adults interested, too, amid the plain-as-your-face goofiness. I mean, who can’t appreciate an ageless space dolphin entrusted with keeping the planets from colliding who needs a potty break when SpongeBob and Plankton inexplicably turn up?
Kenny’s voice is surrounded with some notable names, too, the biggest of which are Antonio Banderas as pirate Burger Beard and Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick. Banderas needs no introduction, of course. Fagerbakke you’d know from sparring as Dauber with Craig Nelson in the long-running TV sitcom Coach.
It makes for a happy time for all. Seagulls sing! Ahoy, there. The just-opened Margaritaville and an umbrella beverage complete with pineapple could await down the Destiny USA hallway, matey, juice for the kids!! Don’t think too hard, sit back, let the silly Sponge do all the work.
Mark Bialczak is a veteran journalist who has lived in the Syracuse area since 1983. In early 2013, he was set free to write about whatever he wants. Click here to read Mark’s BLOG.