Looks like the Squarepants gang has run out of ideas

by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

poster-spongeThe SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
1.5 out of 5

Before the release of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, I thought the Saturday morning cartoon staple was long gone. Boy, was I wrong: now 10 seasons and 215 episodes strong, SpongeBob has outlived far better Nickelodeon shows like Rocko’s Modern Life, Rugrats and the grossly under-appreciated Hey, Arnold!

But in his second trip to the multiplex, SpongeBob is showing his age. The film is goofy as heck, but it lacks the element of surprise — or even a shred of originality, for that matter. The plot is driven by the series’ longest-running source of conflict: Plankton’s efforts to steal the recipe for the Krabby Patties. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Ask your kids.)

Midway through Plankton’s most elaborate scheme yet, the recipe vanishes into thin air. Everybody blames Plankton, except for the only witness to the disappearance, SpongeBob. As the town of Bikini Bottom descends into post-apocalyptic anarchy in record time, it begins to appear that a mysterious pirate-slash-food-truck-impresario (Antonio Banderas) holds the answer.

I have no problem with senseless absurdity, but the lack of internal logic is just plain laziness. A magic book is key to the entire operation, but it’s never clear why, or how it operates. Banderas is an upgrade over the main human (David Hasselhoff) in 2004’s The SpongeBob Movie, but he’s still annoying.

True, I’m not the movie’s target audience (kids and stoners) — but there were children at the screening I attended, and they didn’t seem impressed either. Maybe millennials who grew up with the show will get a kick out of it but if that’s not you, give this one a pass.