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The Simpson Movie PD-13
Twentieth Century Fox Animation
Theatrical Release Date: July 27, 2007
Director: David Silverman

The Simpson Movie by Trent McMartin for UnRated Magazine [November 17, 2007]
the Simpson Movie The Simpson Movie

There's a scene in the Simpsons Movie where the ever patient Marge Simpson reaches her breaking point with Homer's antics. The blue haired matriarch of the Simpsons family leaves Homer, taking the kids with her, thus kicking off the last act of the film, which conversely is all about redemption, forgiveness and family bonds. Though this scene may not be unlike any of the other countless scenes viewers have watched over the course of the show in which Homer has tested Marge's seemingly endless supply of tolerance. It's significant in the fact that it reveals to moviegoers that Homer can at times be a terrible individual; one who has moved beyond the selfishness and obliviousness of past deadbeat TV dads (Archie Bunker, Al Bundy) into the more despicable territory of an absentee father or a psychologically abusive husband.

Without revealing the plot too much, a general synopsis of the film revolves around the Simpson family being on the run after Homer dumps the droppings of his pet pig, Spider-Pig, into the already heavily contaminated Lake Springfield, resulting in an environmental disaster that could threaten the town of Springfield. The town's residents, which are made up of a who's who of ever present and past Simpsons characters, bring out the torches and pitchforks (do they carry these items all the time?) demanding blood for Homer's misdeeds.

Following a hilarious escape, which involves a few “birds” being flipped, the Simpsons settle into life as fugitives living a quiet existence in beautiful, scenic Alaska . This second act, with the family taking up residence in the 49th state, serves an important purpose - to let the audience catch their breath after an intense first half hour that was loaded with innumerable sight gags, explosive action sequences and even a brief scene of full frontal cartoon nudity (it's actually quite funny).

Which brings us to the defining point of the film where the family has lost faith in Homer, leaving Alaska without him to go back and try and save Springfield from a terrible government sponsored fate. Wallowing in his own self-pity, Homer then makes the slow climb back to being a respectable doofus, not the mean-spirited human garbage he's been acting like for most of the film (though a hilarious piece of human garbage). After a hallucinogenic induced epiphany, Homer heads back to Springfield for the third and final act of the movie to attempt to rescue the town while simultaneously saving his marriage, family life and reputation in the process.

At its core, the Simpsons has always been a subversive satirical look at the middle class American family - a humourous revelation for those who couldn't identify with the neat and tidy families depicted on television. Many people, especially those born after the Simpsons made their unheralded debut in the late eighties as a short on the Tracy Ullman Show, may find the series tame by today's standards, preferring to follow harsher, more edgier types of animation like South Park (one of my favourites) or the boorish, non-funny Family Guy (one of my least favourite).

Albeit, the Simpsons is not as good as it once was, though that's understandable after two decades, 400 episodes and a revolving door of writers. However, in some regards the Simpsons Movie does turn back the clock to the show's heyday, establishing character and plot development, while still remaining relevant with modern jabs and present-day humour that could only be understood in a post 9/11, Bush administration era. In an odd way, it's almost charming to see how the film plays out. Instead of bombarding the audience with a continuous stream of unintelligent non-plot derived jokes or gratuitous over the top gross out bits, the Simpsons Movie touches upon one of the more simple yet imperative humanistic qualities: the importance of family.

*** out of four

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