April 14, 2015
Family Film Blogging: Home and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
Posted by Christine Hurt

I'm behind on a few movies, so here's a twofer.  I'll start with the bad news.

Spongebob.  However bad you thought it would be, it's worse.  The kids and I went on a cold day during Spring Break when it was at the dollar movie.  We overpaid.  The youngest, age 7, swears it was good, but he's just doing that to save face.

I'm not a Spongebob hater.  Back in the early 2000s, when I had toddlers and a stream of Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer and Caillou, Spongebob was a welcome respite from cloying sweetness.  Spongebob was laugh-out-loud funny but still had a sweet spirit.  I can still tell you episodes I enjoyed:  the claw episode, the driving test episode, the marching band episode, anything with Sandy.  But then Spongebob became annoying to me.  I have not spent enough time or analysis to know whether the show got worse, or it just wasn't new any more, or Phineas and Ferb filled that smart-but-sweet family cartoon void better.  Anyway, I have outlawed Spongebob in the same way that others outlawed Barney.  Too much is too much.  But here we are watching (the second) Spongebob movie in the theater.

The basic plot is familiar -- Plankton wants to steal the formula.  The actual plot is beyond my understanding:  something about Antonio Banderas as a pirate reading a magical book about Plankton trying to steal the formula, then the pirate ending up with the formula and Bikini Bottom looking worse than Pottersville after Uncle Billy loses the money.  There's a time machine and a magical space dolphin.  Then the Bikini Bottom characters go to the surface to get the formula back from the pirate.  (the trailer is almost all about the "out of water" portion of the movie, but 90% of the movie is not "out of the water.'  It's almost as if the writers were on some sort of psychedelic imagination-enhancers and everyone got to put in an idea.  Don't go.  Don't Redbox.  Just don't.  Surely there's a rerun of Phineas and Ferb on.


Home.  This movie may not be the good news, but it's better than Spongebob.  We were very excited to see this movie based on the trailer and it was a Friday night destination.  It was ok.  The marketing is really interesting.  To "seed" the idea of a new movie with new characters based on a little-knownchildren's book "The True Meaning of Smekday," the producers created a short film called "Almost Home," which played in theaters before other Dreamworks movies.  That short film, featuring Steve Martin as the incompetent leader of the alien Boov, was really funny.  The longer movie is not quite as funny.

As seen in the short, the Boov are on the run from another alien race, the Gorgs, and are having a hard time finding a hospitable planet.  They finally find Earth.  Of course, Earth has inhabitants, so Captain Smek tells the Boov that humans are stupid and in need of the Boov to take over, which they do.  The Boov relocate the humans to Australia.  (The Boov are all on one spaceship, so it's hard to imagine that they fill up the entire non-Australian planet, but they seem to fill up at least New York and London.)  Our heroine, Tip (full name Gratuity, unexplained), is separated from her mom and hiding out in New York from the Boov.  Our almost hero, Oh, is a Boov on the run after he is blamed for attracting the attention of the Gorgs to the Boov's new planet.  Soon, Oh and Tip are driving a car (made to hover by Oh, who is something of a technician) to Australia.  Apparently the car moves at the speed of the Concorde, though it looks to just be ambling in the sky.  Like other road movies with two opposite characters, the scenes between Oh and Tip are pretty funny.  The best scenes are in the trailer if you don't want to spend any money.

I haven't read the book, but the movie requires you to suspend a lot of disbelief.  If Tip is 14, how does she know how to drive a car?  In New York?  Why is she named Gratuity?  How do 7 billion people fit in Australia?  Where did all of those row houses for the humans get built in one day?  How did any of this happen in one day?  The best part of the movie is of course Oh, who is voiced by Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory.  His character is very similar to Sheldon's character.  He is very literal, selfish, and lovable.

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