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SpongeBob’ delivers big laughs

“The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” is a welcome addition to Sibs N Kids weekend as it has plenty for both the young and the old to enjoy. The film is an elaborate extension of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon program featuring the squeaky voiced sponge, SpongeBob, and his best friend and sidekick, a starfish named Patrick Star.

The film is a grand adventure about a quest to recover the crown of King Neptune. The king has placed blame on SpongeBob’s boss, Mr. Krabs, and has frozen him solid.

In reality, however, it is an elaborate trick played on Mr. Krabs and King Neptune by Plankton, an over of The Chum Bucket who is jealous at the success of the hamburger joint run by Krabs.

Of course the plot is not why anyone would go see a film like “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.” Kids enjoy it for the colorful characters and abundance of silliness. Adults love it for the sharp jokes and reckless abandon. In this the movie definitely succeeds. The film may just be an extended version of the half hour show, but it is bigger, crazier and funnier than most of the regular episodes.

Along the way on their new adventure a lot of new characters are introduced. The characters will delight young children because they are colorful and have a nice precense on screen. Especially Dennis, a fierce biker who is on the trail of young SpongeBob and Patrick.

However, this character will also delight older audiences as well as it is voiced by the underrated Alec Baldwin and because Dennis seems to be modeled after Leonard Smalls. Smalls was the evil biker who chased the McDunnough’s (Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter) in the classic Coen brothers’ comedy, “Raising Arizona.”

This is just one of the affectionate touches put in for the grown ups in the audience. The creators don’t take for granted the subversive popularity of the show among young adults and have given plenty for the college kids to enjoy.

There is the voice cast which features the aforementioned Baldwin as well as Tom Kenny as the voice of SpongeBob. The college crowd may know him as one of the key players in the sketch comedy show “Mr. Show with Bob and David.” There is also Jeffrey Tambor (King Neptune) who gained notoriety on The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development.

In a brilliant touch of stunt casting the climax of the film features David Hasselhoff in full “Baywatch” mode, playing himself and helping SpongeBob and Patrick finish their journey and hopefully save their friends.

While SpongeBob is an aquired taste, those who enjoy time between classes watching the zany cartoon will definitely not regret seeing the film. And the love of SpongeBob by children has been well established for the last six years. They will be dragging you to the theater and the good news is you probably won’t mind.

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