The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

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Can you really make it through an hour and a half of pure, unfettered giddiness from an absorbent young lad who dwells beneath the ocean in a hollowed out tropical fruit?

Heck, yeah! That is, unless you’re too cynical to enjoy the looniest of today’s ’toons, SpongeBob SquarePants. In that case, stay home, because we don’t want no hateration in this cinema-ry, and there will undoubtedly be enough holleration from the tons of tykes who can’t get enough of the bright-yellow bubbly one.

Sponge-heads young and old will love The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie because it faithfully upholds the wackiness of the television show.

For the rest of us, the movie is at times annoying but not without a few laughs. The key to tolerating, if not enjoying, SpongeBob is to suppress your adult brain from asking silly questions like “why?” “how?” “what the?” or, moreover, “shouldn’t movies have plots?”

Yes, movies should, in general, have plots. And, no, this one doesn’t make any sense (something about Neptune’s missing crown, “krabby patties,” SpongeBob losing a promotion and David Hasselhoff). Whatever. There are enough zany high jinks for the kids and jokes for the older folks to carry through.

Besides, would you ask why Bugs Bunny puts on a dress or how Fred Flintstone drives a car with his feet? So don’t question things like SpongeBob fighting his nemesis while cruising through the ocean on the back of the real Hasselhoff. It’s OK to cringe at the all too close-up shots of the Baywatch king’s back hair — but just don’t act like you’re too mature to laugh at it. SpongeBob is pure idiocy, but it’s good fun.

In many ways, SpongeBob is the rightful heir to The Ren and Stimpy Show’s “Happy Happy Joy Joy” anthem. The movie is often gross — but try to find a 4-year-old who doesn’t crack up when SpongeBob prances around in his underpants or when his buddy Patrick the starfish runs around (tee hee) naked. And, much like Stimpy, SpongeBob and Patrick are so up that you have to wonder what they’re on and where you can get some.

Parents yearning for educational, nonviolent entertainment might not appreciate the amount of slaps in the slapstick, but SpongeBob offers nothing as bad as some of the beat-downs poor Wile E. Coyote has suffered, let alone whatever crap kids see while playing on their Xboxes.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie may not push any message deeper than “kids rule” and “Hasselhoff is hairy” — but that’s more than enough to chew on for a Saturday morning.

Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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