After opening the movie with a hilarious preview for an "Itchy and Scratchy" movie, Homer laments, "I can't believe we're paying for something we could get for free on TV. If you ask me, everyone in this theater is a big sucker, especially you."\nSorry, Homer; it was worth every penny. From Ralph singing along to the 20th Century Fox theme music to Bart skateboarding naked through town to Otto lighting one up as the end of Springfield seemed imminent, every minute of "The Simpsons Movie" is an absolute joy. \nAs with most "Simpsons" episodes, the plot doesn't matter nearly as much as the jokes, but here it is: After repeated warnings, Homer dumps enough waste into Lake Springfield to cause it to become so toxic the town has to be quarantined in a bubble (think "Bio-Dome"). The whole town, including Marge and the kids, turns on Homer, and he tries to save the day and win back their trust. \nThe movie feels like one long episode, but unlike the show's last few seasons, you'll want to savor every minute. The one-liners are rapid and hit consistently, especially in the first act. \nThe dialogue was strong, but a surprising amount of enjoyment came from the movie's beautiful animation. In shots where the camera moved past the angry Springfield mob, it was incredible to see how crisp and vivid they looked on the big screen. \nOne of my biggest complaints with the movie is that while we get to see a lot of the towns, some of the best characters are underused (no scenes in the school or at Moe's, for starters.) Even more irritating, while Tom Hanks and Green Day work quite well in their brief appearances as themselves, Albert Brooks' Environmental Protection Agency character hogs up way too much screen time. \nSpeaking of hogs, that Spider Pig seems to have captured the hearts of fans who haven't even seen the movie yet, and Homer trying to kiss the pig when things get awkward is classic "Simpsons." Homer and Bart get most of the screen time, and deservedly so. The two subplots of Lisa falling for a smart new Irish boy and Bart wishing he were Flanders' son went mostly undeveloped, but who am I to complain? What was in the movie was exciting, fun and made me love "The Simpsons" again. \nMore than anything, I'm relieved that the movie turned out as well as it did. After dedicating an entire issue to it (and several months of my life to the show), it was gratifying to be in the theater for a movie that received applause at the end. It felt as warm and gooey as the inside of a donut. Hmmm. Donuts.
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