The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Why did I see this movie, you might ask? Well, first of all, my girlfriend wanted to. But the other reason is that the film's director is an old classmate of mine from CalArts.

There are few people who have become fabulous successes about whom I can say "I knew them when", and Steve Hillenburg is one of them. What I can tell you about Steve is that when he came to CalArts, he had a degree in marine biology and had drawn some cartoons, but he had never animated anything before. You wouldn't know it when you saw what he did in class: his timing was perfect. So I'm glad he found some well-deserved fame and fortune with this character that he created, the titular SpongeBob.

As for SpongeBob's humor? Well, it's pretty much non-stop silliness, isn't it? SpongeBob SquarePants is a direct descendent of Ren & Stimpy, only a bit less subversive. So it lacks some bite. But the kids love it. So go Steve.

I won't bother telling you about the plot, but I will say that guest voiceover talent Scarlett Johansson puts more energy into her performance here than she usually does in live action pictures. And I give one last round of kudos to Steve for letting our mutual friend Mark Osborne direct the live action scenes; for putting a song in the movie that he wrote with the other guys from our experimental animation class, Steve Belfer and Carlos Palazio; and for dedicating the whole shebang to our late mentor, Jules Engel.

Aside from all that, you either find SpongeBob hilarious or annoying, and you've already decided whether or not you're going to see this movie based on that. So why go on? In short, I thought it was OK.