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The Simpsons Movie is great - but sets a worrying precedent

Posted at 4:00 PM on July 27, 2007 by Euan Kerr

Let me get an admission out of the way: despite the near carpet-bombing of Simpsons programs on certain TV channels over the years, I don't remember actually watching an entire episode.

This may explain why I enjoyed "The Simpsons Movie" so much. It's an 84 minute rush of one-liners, slapstick, and cultural gut-punching. It makes you laugh out loud, and in my case I have been singing the obnoxious 'Spiderpig" song to myself for hours.

The script throws so many twists at the audience that at the screening where I saw it, when the film broke down, most of the audience thought it was part of the show. It was only after the delay stretched into a couple of minutes and someone went rushing out of the theater that people realized what was up.

So that's the fun stuff. But this movie could set a worrying precedent. Try as they might, Hollywood has a pretty poor record at successfully transferring TV shows to the big screen. Half hour sitcoms have the narrative tensile strength of a wet tissue and so can't bear the weight of a full movie treatment.

But "The Simpsons Movie" is likely to make money, and the movie even concludes with what amounts to a declaration there will be a sequel.

A report on Marketplace last night predicted that Hollywood will be inspired to throw a lot more shows into film production, which won't be pretty. Two hours of "That 70's Show?" or 90 minutes of "Two and a Half Men?"

We have been warned.

July 2007
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