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The Simpsons Movie

8 August 07 words: Stewart Terry
You’ll go through your laughter repertoire, from giggle to guffaw, then on to pant-wetting and back to guffaw again.

After the inconsiderate actions of Homer, and by way of proxy his new friend Spider-Pig (aka Harry Plopper), cause an environmental disaster Springfield is placed under quarantine, courtesy of the EPA and a dome which looks a lot like the centre of a Frustration board. An unsuccessful attempt by an angry mob to gain revenge on the Simpsons leads the family to escape to Alaska, only for them to return when they hear of government plans to destroy their beloved town and create a lovely new Grand Canyon-esqe tourist attraction.

Of course Homer is the star, the writers realise that any hint of narrative needs to be driven to its inevitable over-the-top conclusion by the bald one’s pratfalls and his ability to crash from one strange situation into another. Playing like the bastardised son of An Inconvenient Truth and The Truman Show, The Simpsons Movie treads a fine line between political-environmental dogmatism and surreal, slapstick humour which has been the mainstay of the series from day one and to coin a Bond theme: nobody does it better.

Because The Simpsons Movie doesn’t compromise its humour for the chance to preach its message to the audience, there are laughs from start to finish. In fact you’ll go through your laughter repertoire, from giggle to guffaw, then on to pant-wetting and back to guffaw again. The Simpsons Movie does not come in below expectations and is one of the first films released this summer which you can stride into confidently knowing you’ll have a great time.

Because it is (despite Matt Groening’s insistence that it isn’t) simply an extended episode, there are minor negative aspects, such as Marge leaving Homer for the umpteenth time, Homer going on another American Indian inspired quest and lack of screen-time for some characters, but it would be remiss of me to say that these will ruin your enjoyment of the film.

The Simpson’s stalwart presence on the television listings in recent years has not been because of consistency of writing (I’m looking at you Ricky Gervais) but is more to do with fan good-will, and even the die-hards have to admit that recently the fat lady has been limbering up for her encore, so the fear with The Simpsons move to the big screen is that it will spell the death-knell for the TV show itself. On the contrary The Simpsons Movie could be the saving grace for Homer and the menagerie of freaks in Springfield and ensure a continued life on the small-screen for years to come. Woo-Hoo!

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