Winning kids over with its cartoonishness, adults with its wittiness, and stoned college students with its absurdness, Sponge Out of Water is an animated Monty Python movie you can take the whole family to. With absolutely no interest in teaching morals or life lessons with a straight face, the film stays true to the essence of the Spongebob phenomenon: delivering pure laughs in every surreal, bonkers way it can.
A brief description of the plot will give you a taste of the lunacy on offer: Bikini Bottom literally jump-cuts into chaos when the Krabby Patty formula goes missing. The town’s only hope is Spongebob, Plankton, and a time machine made from a photo-booth and day-old nachos.
That’s the tip of this insanity iceberg, one that is filled with an impressive variety of jokes that span from delightfully childish visual gags to oddball one-liners (“Welcome to the apocalypse; I hope you like leather”). There’s even a sugar-coated reference to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
The animators have done a flawless job with the “out of water” leap from 2D to 3D, though it only makes up 15 minutes of the film. However, keeping human interaction to a minimum prevents it from feeling too distant from the ‘bob world we love (an effect I call ‘Smurfing it up’).
The only jokes that flop with a thud are the ones that recycle material used in the series. The biggest offender is a tame musical number where Spongebob teaches Plankton about teamwork, which is nowhere near as F.U.N. as the original song. But this is merely one of a few dud bullets coming from a movie that duel-wields machine guns loaded with gags.
‘The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ Movie Times (also in 3D)