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The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water - 'manages the daredevil feat of entertaining kids and keeping parents amused'

Family: Starring Antonio Banderas, Tim Conway, Eric Bauza, Paul Tibbitt, Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass. Dir. Paul Tibbitt. Cert G

From one family favourite to another, though it's fair to say that Cinderella never boasted the crossover appeal of Spongebob Squarepants.

If memory serves, Spongebob Squarepants was beloved of the student stoner set back in the day, who found much to laugh about the fact that the action was set in a place called Bikini Bottom.

2004's Spongebob movie fully capitalised on the idea that the cartoon was one thing for kids and quite another for adults. At the very least, it was one of the few movies to use David Hasselhoff's leg hair as a plot device.

The 2015 version kicks off with an impressively epic swashbuckling scene (here, Antonio Banderas plays a panto villain pirate to fairly questionable effect), though it's not long before we're back into surreal, "pineapple under the sea" territory. Midway through the film, however, things take a different turn as our beloved characters expand into three-dimensional CG. This is as jarring as it is intriguing, especially for those who watched Spongebob in the wee hours of the morning.

The story unfolds thus: our subterranean pals Spongebob (Tom Kenny), Mr Krab (Clandy Brown), Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) and Squidward (Rodger Bumpass) are protecting the Krabby Patty recipe - the secret to the Krusty Krab's success - from rival restaurant owner Plankton.

As the recipe vanishes, Bikini Bottom descends into savage chaos. Spongebob believes that his adversary Plankton is innocent in this regard, so amid the post-apocalyptic scenes the two team up to get to track it down.

It's riotous, kinetic, bright and campy enough to keep most kids on the edge of their seats, though some of the more knowing references to the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Douglas Adams will be lost on them. Other side-references, from food trucks to The Fisher King, will also go over their heads.

The film's energy is unrelenting, its pace barely giving up for the whole 92 minutes. So many projects walk a knife-edge between entertaining kids and keeping their parents amused, and Sponge Out Of Water manages this daredevil feat with impressive vim.


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