[Screen It]


(2021) (voices of Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke) (PG)

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In the underwater world of Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob SquarePants (voice of TOM KENNY) is a happy fellow who loves his pet, Gary the Snail, has good friends in Patrick Star (voice of BILL FAGERBAKKE) and underwater bunny Sandy Cheeks (voice of CAROLYN LAWRENCE), and enjoys working at the Krusty Krab restaurant making Krabby Patties for owner Mr. Krabs (voice of CLANCY BROWN), while coworker Squidward Tentacles (voice of RODGER BUMPASS) sits around and does nothing but read.

Krabs' restaurant rival, Plankton (voice of MR. LAWRENCE), is once again desirous of stealing the formula for those Krabby Patties, but is accidentally thwarted by SpongeBob who doesn't even spot the copepod. If only Plankton had a way to deal with Spongebob. Enter King Poseidon (voice of MATT BERRY), the vain ruler of the not-so-lost Lost City of Atlantic City.

He's accustomed to using snail slime as his beauty regimen, but when those snails run out of juice, he has his right-hand man, Chancellor (voice of REGGIE WATTS), set forth a decree to find more. Plankton then kidnaps Gary, knowing that Spongebob will try to rescue him.

Which he does with the help of Patrick, Sandy, and her robot creation, Otto (voice of AWKWAFINA), while also getting guidance from Sage (KEANU REEVES) the sagebrush who warns them of perils along the way, including that presented by zombie leader El Diablo (DANNY TREJO). Facing that and uncertainty, Spongebob and his friends head for the Lost City of Atlantic City to rescue Gary.

OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10

While it's rightfully attributed to the conquering Borg characters in the old TV show "Star Trek: The Next Generation" the saying "resistance is futile" can rightfully apply to many other things. Cute kittens and puppies? Check. Peanut M&Ms? Uh, yeah. The Baby Shark song? C'mon, admit it, you can try to block it out, but you ultimately give up and sing along.

What about Spongebob and all his zany companions who reside in the undersea world of Bikini Bottom? With a similarly catchy theme song that fueled the TV show and subsequent two movies, the answer is also yes and that now also applies to the third entry in the feature-length canon of this series, "The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run."

Is it great entertainment that will appeal to all ages? Hardly, but the target audience will eat it up and any sibling guardians or parents in tow won't be bored, mainly due to some truly whacky moments you likely won't see coming and a complete disregard for common sense (how does a tumbleweed do its normal above-ground moves underwater?). Yes, resistance is futile so you might as well go along for the ride, this time presented in more dimensional CGI.

As written and directed by Tim Hill, that ride begins on a normal day in Bikini Bottom where we see all the regulars doing their normal stuff. That includes, natch, our title character (voiced by Tom Kenny) who loves everything about his life, but especially his somewhat cat-like pet snail Gary (who shows his affection by leaving slime trails all over Bob -- which I imagine would be hard to get out of a sponge, but no one in front of or behind the camera is concerned with that).

He also enjoys working at the Krusty Krab even if he's the only person who actually does any work. The success of that place, however, has long irritated the film's villain, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence), who comes to realize it's SpongeBob who always thwarts his efforts. Thus, when he sees that King Poseidon (Matt Berry) of the Lost City of Atlantic City needs slime-producing snails, Plankton steals Gary.

All of which results in our title character setting off a rescue mission with his friends, Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke), and Sandy (Carolyn Lawrence), the latter a bunny who lives underwater via Scuba gear. Along the way, they have brief run-ins with live-action characters played by Snoop Dogg and Danny Trejo (the latter playing an Old West zombie leader).

But the goofiest and recurring encounter involves the aforementioned tumbleweed that, for reasons never explained, possesses the live-action head of none other than Keanu Reeves who serves as their spirit guide and sage (which is also his name).

As I don't recall a thing about the previous two "SpongeBob" movies and have never watched the TV show, I can't say whether the inclusion of such live-action performers is a novel or repeated element. Whichever case is true makes no difference, but that, the rest of the goofy material and some brief, but profound moments make this an entertaining diversion. Do not attempt to resist that reaction, for such resistance indeed is futile. "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run" rates as a silly 6 out of 10.

Reviewed February 28, 2021 / Posted March 5, 2021

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