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Still shot from the movie: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Deep, deep under the ocean lies a civilization unknown to man. Bikini Bottom is a waterlogged world, home to a society of mutated sea creatures that have somehow been endowed with human characteristics. One of the most noted citizens of this microcosm is a four-sided little character named SpongeBob SquarePants (voice of Tom Kenny). Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B- 3.0
Violence: B-
Sexual Content: B
Language: B+
Drugs/Alcohol: B
Run Time: 87
Theater Release: 18 Nov 2004
Video Release: 28 Feb 2005
MPAA Rating: PG
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Deep, deep under the ocean lies a civilization unknown to man. Bikini Bottom is a waterlogged world, home to a society of mutated sea creatures that have somehow been endowed with human characteristics. One of the most noted citizens of this microcosm is a four-sided little character named SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny).

SpongeBob lives a simple little life, toiling long and hard at the nearby Krusty Krab fast food joint. His wall of Employee-of-the-Month honors has him convinced he's going to be chosen as manager for the new Krusty Krab location. What he isn't counting on is his boss Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown), who sees him being too young for the top job.

His fate changes when King Neptune's (Jeffrey Tambor) crown is stolen. With good reason to believe Mr. Krabs is the thief, the dictator drops by the Krusty Krab to exact justice. However, little SpongeBob and Neptune's sweet daughter Mindy (Scarlett Johansson) intervene at the very moment Krabs is about to become dead meat under Neptune's instant-barbecuing flame-throwing trident. Flipping the switch on his golden pitchfork from fry to freeze, the king instead encapsulates Mr. Krabs in ice. The chilly turn of events gives SpongeBob and his best friend, starfish Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke), six days to return the crown.

But nobody is aware of the interference of an evil player known as Plankton (Doug Lawrence). He operates a hole-in-the-wall food outlet across the street, and badly wants Mr. Krabs' secret recipe to his famous Krabby Patties. With the entrepreneur on ice, and SpongeBob and Patrick on the road trying to return the crown, Plankton takes advantage of the opportunity to sponge off his competition. He also dispatches his hit man Dennis (Alec Baldwin) to take care of the pair.

The amazingly complicated plot holds more surprises than expected... particularly an extended cameo by David Hasselhoff, who becomes a human dinghy upon which SpongeBob and Patrick ride to safety. That scene alone, with a tiny animated starfish and sponge surfing on Hasselhoff's hairy legs, could easily be ranked as one of the strangest moments in cinematic history.

A second shocker was how often I laughed. The first half hour is especially crazy, with a live action opening involving pirates who scramble into a theater to see this movie. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end -- and this one doesn't soon enough. Even with the buccaneers returning for a satisfying reprise before the end credits, the actual story is stretched longer than an eel in an attempt to make this feature length material.

Parents comfortable with SpongeBob's television persona won't find much different here. Jokes involving underwear are quite popular, as are shots of SpongeBob and Patrick's derri0xE8res. Other issues include name calling, slapstick hits over the head, simulated drunkenness after a night at an ice cream bar, and a strange moment when Patrick-- who was enamored earlier at the sight of Mindy--appears in women's stockings and high heels.

In fact, "strange" is the best word to label this crustacean comic. Although lessons on friendship, cooperation, and what it means to be a man, are all positive morsels you'll harvest from this sea of stupidity, there's also a fair share of seaweed to wade through. (Not to mention some very annoying songs your children will love to repeat.)

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is rated PG: for some mild crude humor.

Director: Mark Osborne, Stephen Hillenburg
Cast: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke
Studio: 2004 Paramount Pictures

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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