For years, we devoted Simpsons-ites have clutched our Moe the Bartender action figures and hoped—nay, prayed—that we’d one day watch the exploits of Springfield’s finest at the local multiplex. Our dreams have come true, but with the first feature-length outing of Homer, Marge et al. comes a painful reminder to be careful what you wish for. Qualitywise, The Simpsons Movie doesn’t come close to the brilliance of the early years, nor is it, to paraphrase geek-critic Comic Book Guy, the Worst. Cartoon-TV-series-to-film adaptation. Ever. The problem is that fans who’ve patiently held their breath for a big-screen adventure have been rewarded with nothing so much as several crushingly mediocre episodes strung together and stretched out to nearly 90 minutes. Seriously, we’ve waited 18 years for this?
Mind you, there are a handful of funny, inspired moments scattered throughout—the opening Itchy & Scratchy preamble is hilarious, and you’ll find yourself singing the lyrics to “Spider-Pig” for weeks. But Matt Groening & Co. always said they wouldn’t commit to a movie until they had a worthy script, and despite a whopping 11 veteran Simpsons writers contributing their various two cents, the film’s premise (it involves a silo full of pig shit, a huge dome and Homer saving the day) is just another misbegotten high-concept hodgepodge filled with recycled gags. Obsessives will be heartbroken, especially since most of the beloved supporting characters barely make a blip. Even casual viewers—or those who know TV’s yellow-hued family only from their cultural omnipresence—won’t feel like they got their d’oh’s worth.