How does the new SpongeBob movie measure up?

This image shows characters in a scene from “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.”

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Voices of Tom Kenny, Clancy Brown, Mr. Lawrence. Directed by Paul Tibbitt. Rated PG. Opens Friday.

For kids: All the familiar characters (SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Squidward, Plankton) from long-running Nickelodeon animated series SpongeBob SquarePants are here, and despite the mix of CGI and live action that’s been touted in advertisements, the majority of the movie features traditional animation in line with the TV show. Plus, SpongeBob teaches all about teamwork (complete with an annoyingly catchy song).

For parents: At least there’s only one annoyingly catchy song, although the movie drags on for what feels like much more than its 90 minutes, and would have been more tolerable as a half-hour TV episode. There are a handful of amusing puns, plus some highbrow movie references (Stanley Kubrick, Sergio Leone), and Antonio Banderas hams it up in the live-action segments as a pirate named Burger-Beard. But this is not one of those animated movies that will be as entertaining for adults as it is for kids.

For stoners: The show’s perennial, dedicated audience will appreciate the surreal touches, including a literal journey inside SpongeBob’s brain and a trippy time-travel sequence that features a super-intelligent talking dolphin from the future. Creator Stephen Hillenburg, who gave the show its distinctive oddball tone but left in 2004, returns as a writer and producer for the movie.


Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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