What Parents Should Know
Parents should know that the movie breaks no new ground content-wise (except for showing Bart's tush and penis). The same hilarious -- but intentionally in-your-face -- levels of humor apply. The movie features a few more edgy words and sight gags, but nothing comes near, say, South Park levels. Minor characters and animals are crushed, kicked, and killed off, sometimes in groan-inducing ways. Bart gets drunk, Marge and Homer share a pre-coital scene, and there are lots of jokes that reference other movies and cultural events that might go over the younger audience members' heads.
Families can talk about the impact of The Simpsons on popular culture. Is the animated show's popularity even greater than that of Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Harry Potter? Is it wrong to show Bart drinking? What would really happen if a 10-year-old drank a miniature bottle of alcohol? Parents can also discuss caring about the environment and how even one person's actions make a difference.
Common Sense Media Review
Springfield lovers have been waiting, like Homer drooling over an out-of-reach donut, more than 18 years for Matt Groening and James L. Brooks to get the merry geniuses behind The Simpsons to create a feature-length film. Finally, followers can see their beloved first family of animation on the big screen, and it was it worth the wait.
That's not to say that "The Simpsons Movie" is far better than any fan's favorite episodes, but it's a triumphant collaboration of nearly a dozen of the series' best head-writers and producers. The result is a film that's true to its episodic roots -- tons of characters, A-list cameos, meta references -- but also appealing to even the casual or non-viewer.
Without spoiling specific details, the story focuses on Homer (Dan Castellaneta) and how his selfishness (in this case, adopting a pig) triggers the worst emergency in Springfield's long and disaster-prone history. Meanwhile, Bart (Nancy Cartwright) starts wishing okalee-dorkily neighbor Ned Flanders (Harry Shearer) were his father, and Lisa (Yeardley Smith) falls for a young Irish activist. Marge (Julie Kavner), as always, sums up all her patience to deal with the latest family crisis.
"Simpsons" adventures are really best seen and not explained. Even a straightforward visual gag, like Bart skateboarding in the buff or Ned preparing a cup of hot cocoa, is side splitting. And then there are the deliciously intricate crowd -- or more accurately, mob -- scenes when primary, secondary, and occasional character mix seamlessly together. Ahhh, sweet, sweet laughter. The audience at several points roared so loudly that it was hard to hear the dialogue.
But you don't have to be a line-memorizing Comic-Book Guy to enjoy the film. Even the uninitiated or usually unimpressed should find plenty of opportunities to laugh so hard you cry during the 86-minute treat. Be warned though, you won't be able to stop humming "Spider-Pig" once the end credits (a perk for those who stay 'til the very end) roll.
Families who like The Simpsons will enjoy the TV series, 10 seasons of which are available on DVD, the live-action family misadventure "The Increadibles."
Common Sense Media is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information to help parents make media and entertainment choices for their families.