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Good, silly entertainment - especially for kids
on July 11, 2006
I've been curious about the whole SpongeBob SquarePants phenomenon (as in what the heck is SpongeBob SquarePants?) for awhile now, so I decided to watch the movie. I went into this thing knowing nothing whatsoever about SpongeBob SquarePants - I have never seen the TV show, and I could never even remember the name (Spongepants Squarebob?). Yes, I was a complete SpongeBob SquarePants virgin.
SpongeBob is seemingly a sponge and he does have square pants, so the name apparently isn't some kind of secret code that only children understand - that's good. He lives underneath the sea, where he works as a fry cook at Krabby Patties and pals around with a starfish named, appropriately enough, Patrick Starfish. He's all excited because he expects to be named the new manager at Krabby Patties 2. Someone else gets the job, though, causing SpongeBob to drown his sorrows in tons of ice cream. The boss thinks he's just a kid, and he wants to be an adult. Meanwhile, the evil Plankton (who looks like a green pepper to me), who has been trying to get the Krabby Patties secret recipe for ages, puts his Plan Z in motion, stealing the beloved crown of King Neptune and blaming the theft on Mr. Krabs. Even though his boss is not SpongeBob's favorite person right now, SpongeBob alone comes forth to defend Mr. Krabs, swearing that he (and Patrick) will go to Shell City and get the stolen crown. Fortunately, Neptune's daughter Missy believes in them when no one else does, and off they go.
Yes, SpongeBob and Patrick undertake the dangerous journey in order to prove that they are men, not boys - and they face many life-threatening obstacles on their way. It's going to take more than Missy's psychological "mermaid magic" to get the boys through this one; it's going to take - shudder - David Hasselhoff. Most kids won't understand the irony of this, not knowing that David Hasselhoff, Mr. Baywatch himself, nearly drowned once while filming his show, but we adults can chuckle at the sight of Hasselhoff making like a speedboat across the ocean waves.
It's a funny movie, but it seems obvious to me that the movie is a result of and not an explanation for the SpongeBob phenomenon. I didn't see anything in the movie itself that would explain the humongous appeal of these characters. Of course, most movies of this type are only poor reflections of the TV shows that inspired them. It's certainly family-friendly entertainment, even though some adults won't understand what the heck the youngsters find so uproariously funny about the whole thing. I enjoyed the movie, but I don't expect you'll see me wearing any SpongeBob SquarePants paraphernalia any time soon. SpongeBob seems to speak to kids rather than most adults, and I say let the kids have their fun and join in a little bit if and when you can.