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The Simpsons Movie (review)

Worst. Conversation. Ever.

So I finally had a chance to see The Simpsons Movie last night, and I gotta tell ya, I laughed a lot. Out loud. Which isn’t something I tend to do a lot at the movies–

Hang on: I’m getting a call. I’ll put it on speaker.

Hel-looo. I must vigorously protest the usage of a “yellow light” on your pathetic movie blogger ratings system.

Who is this?

I am Jeff Albertson, owner of The Android’s Dungeon and Baseball Card Shop at 507 Main Street in Springfield, hours 10 to 6 every day except on the opening day of new Star Wars filums. Then, we are closed out of respect. You may call me Comic Book Guy.

Ah. And you can see my computer as I’m writing my review?

As founder and president of the Society for the Protection of Classic Computer Games, I hacked into your totally unprotected system after the dreaded Tomb Raider incident of 2001 when you denigrated the text adventure and immortal masterpiece Zork. I have had unfettered access to your system since then.

Well, that’s creepy.

This is of no concern to me. I do not consider myself bound by societal norms of propriety. I do consider myself bound to inform you, however, that there is a new version of Quicken available that fixes the loan-amortization bug.

Yeah, great. What do you want?

As I explained, I must vigorously protest the usage of a “yellow light” on your pathetic movie blogger ratings system.

Well, if you would have waited just a nanosecond there, Creepy Boy, you would have seen that I was going to go on to remind readers that the yellow light is not entirely a bad thing, that it still means devoted fans will find the film a worthwhile experience on the big screen. A yellow light is not necessarily a diss.

Ah, you misunderstand me, of course. I am not suggesting that The Simpsons Movie deserves a “green light.” I am suggesting that it should be slapped with a “red light.” No true fan of The Simpsons would consider this a worthy trip to the multiplex.

That’s ridiculous! This is very funny, especially for fans of the TV show, and especially in the first half hour or so. Oh man: the smackdowns of American idiocy — in the realms of entertainment, politics, cultural attitudes, everything — were coming so fast, and I was laughing so hard at them, that I couldn’t keep up writing them all down for Totally Quotable.

You, my dear, sound like a perfect nerd.

I am! And I’m proud of it.

Then you should be aware that the 87 minutes wasted on this pitiable excuse for a movie — 103 minutes with advertisements, trivia quizzes a toddler could solve, and trailers — could be more productively spent honing one’s battle skills in World of Warcraft. The price of admission could purchase several comic books.

That’s true. But that same could be said for any movie. For Attack of the Clones, for instance.

You speak blasphemy, nerdly wench.

Everything’s a tradeoff. Maybe it’s just me, but it was good to see Groening and Co. back on their game again — it feels like it’s been a while since the TV show made me laugh this hard. I admit I haven’t made a point of watching the show religiously in the last few years: it’s been so hit-or-miss that it hasn’t been worth the effort to time-shift it when I’m not home.

Ah, so you admit that it is beneath fans to acknowledge this franchise at all anymore.

That’s not what I said, not at all. Look, would you not go see a Radioactive Man movie — even if it was totally kick-ass and starred Rainier Wolfcastle and was directed by George Lucas — just because the last couple of issues of the comic weren’t that great?

Rainier Wolfcastle would be a terrible Radioactive Man. At my blog, Grumblings of a Comic Book Guy, I have written an extensive, 15-part series on the potential casting of a potential Radioactive Man movie, and I–

Okay, but you get my point, right? If you’ve been missing good Simpsons episodes, well, here’s one right in front of you. I mean, sure, it is just a giant episode of the show, and for anyone who isn’t already a fan, it seems unlikely that this will be of any interest. But this is a sip of water in the desert for fans who’ve been feeling a little let down of late.

So you are suggesting, then, that the treacherous Matt Groening has been expending all his “mojo” onto this movie, and neglecting the TV show?

No, that’s not what I’m suggesting at all. It is a bit of a mystery that this movie could be so funny when the show has not always been so lately. I don’t have an answer to that conundrum. And it is true that the movie, after that first brilliant half hour, falls into something a bit more mundane. That first half hour is pure genius, like a pop culture pinball bouncing around and hitting as many targets as it possibly can, but once it all settles into the story — actual narrative — about Homer’s stupidity driving his family away at last, and his quest to win them back, it’s all only moderately amusing.

And still she defends the abandonment of fans.

Oh, come on! You have to admit that the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon that opens the movie is outrageously funny!

Ahem. I have not seen the film.

No, I didn’t think so.

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