Magazine article The Spectator

Family Favourites

Magazine article The Spectator

Family Favourites

Article excerpt

The Simpsons Movie PG, Nationwide

As you'd expect -- doh! -- The Simpsons Movie has some glorious lines in it.

Lisa to Marge: 'I'm so angry.' Marge to Lisa: 'You're a woman. You can hold it in for years.' Bart to Homer: 'This is the worst day of my life.' Homer to Bart: 'No, son.

This is the worst day of your life so far.' No one, by the way, says: 'When writing about the Simpsons, there will always be a "doh!" so get it out the way quick' but you will note that I have been clever enough to do so, all the same. There are no flies on me.

Yes, yes, yes . . . almost since day one back in 1990 The Simpsons has proved itself a masterpiece and at some level you could even say that I now live according to Simpsonian wisdom. As Homer once said to Marge, 'Marge, stop blaming yourself . . . blame yourself once and get over it' and, ever since, I have blamed myself once and got over it, and you know what? I find it has not only made things much more pleasant all round but I also like myself a great deal better. Still, though, I found this long-awaited movie something of a let-down, possibly just because it's been so long-awaited. Could that be it? I should add that I did not find it a tremendous let-down, which would still probably be a vast improvement on most of the stuff that now comes out of Hollywood, but a let-down, all the same. I loved it, but not enough.

I'm still trying to work out why, but think Homer probably captures it best when, in the opening scene, the Simpson family is itself sitting in a cinema and he says, 'I can't believe we're paying to see what we can see on TV for free.' In this step-up to full-length, big-screen movie I'd expected, I think, that it would have more point to it; that it would be more than just an 85-minute Simpsons episode, as brilliant as the episodes are. On the other hand, if Homer can sum up what I found disappointing, who is the smarter?

And who may have flies on them, after all?

The story is much too silly to summarise properly, but it involves the pollution of Lake Springfield, Homer's new pet, 'Spider-Pig', Bart's longing for a proper dad, like Mr Flanders, and a conspiracy by the Environmental Protection Agency and President Schwarzenegger to deal with Springfield's toxic status by blowing it up.

(Homer to the head of the EPA: 'You've gone mad with power. …

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