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Monday, 29 November 1999 18:00
Local opening date: 7/27/2007
Reviewed by Diane Carson
No introduction is necessary to the phenomenon that is The Simpsons. There's its astonishing, multiple award-winning 18-year run of 400 episodes during which political and cultural satire has entertained and provided perspective on our crazy pop culture. At least six years in debate and development, The Simpsons Movie does not disappoint, especially since, not atypically, it exaggerates a serious issue-toxic dumping and destruction and the EPA.

 
As with the television version, it rewards our paying attention with loads of verbal and visual jokes as Homer lets hunger negate social responsibility-of course-when he dumps his pet pig's waste into Springfield's protected lake so he can get some free donuts. Thus begins an EPA quarantine of Springfield. As the story plays out, multiple targets are hit with the inspired humor that is The Simpsons.

The greatest pleasure of The Simpsons TV and theater is the currency of the concept and the delicacy of the incisive perspectives brought to bear. Tender human emotions play out in the disappointment and hurt inflicted-Bart wishes he had a father who loved him truly, madly, deeply. Lisa longs for someone as smart and aware as she is. Marge wants to recapture her and Homie's magic and be a loving, supportive family. As creator Matt Groening and producers James Books, Al Jean, and Mike Scully have said in recent publicity interviews, The Simpsons is actually a rather conservative, family sitcom with forgiveness and understanding on the heels of stupidity and narcissism. The exaggeration and single-mindedness of the characters encourages laughter while holding a funhouse mirror up for us. Aren't we each about as eccentric in our own peculiar ways? It provides a worthy service by letting us laugh at ourselves, and it even mocks itself. It beings with the Simpson family in a cinema, Homer commenting, "I can't believe we're paying for something we get on TV for free." In its opening montage, Bart writes on the blackboard, "I will not illegally download this movie." A huge concert for the environment is sponsored by a beer company that advocates we all "Binge responsibly." And that's in the first five minutes. With such a wealth of jokes, something has to hit its target. In fact, many, many do every minute of the film. And don't leave when the credits start-there's always something more to come in The Simpsons Movie. At area cinemas.

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