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SpongeBob SquarePants (voice of Tom Kenny) lives in a pineapple at the bottom of the sea, right next to Krusty Krab hamburger joint, where they make the meanest Krabby Patties. Sheldon J. Plankton (voice of Doug Lawrence) who runs a rival burger joint, steals King Neptune's (voice of Jeffrey Tambor) crown as part of a plan to steal Mr Krab's (Clancy Brown) successful patty recipe, and sets him up as the patsy. In order to save Mr Krabs, SpongeBob and his silly friend Patrick the Starfish (voice of Bill Fagerbakke) head for Shell City to recover the crown, with the help of Neptune's daughter Mindy (voice of Scarlett Johansson). On the way, they run into Dennis the hit man (voice of Alec Baldwin), and David Hasselhoff (as himself).

Review by Louise Keller:
Bright, colourful and lively, Spongebob Square Pants is an endearing animated movie for kids of all ages and lovers of the Nickelodeon television series. In case you haven't come across this menagerie of lovable sea creatures before, Spongebob is a yellow square sponge with cardboard box shorts who hangs out with his best friend Pat, a hot pink starfish clad in green and purple shorts. They are both big goofy kids who love to blow bubbles, eat ice cream and party till they're purple.

The writing is sharp and the characters cool, while at the film's heart lies an innocence that resonates with us all. It's a buddy movie and a coming of age story combined, with Spongebob discovering that the sea isn't always bluer elsewhere (or when you're grown up), and realises that being a kid isn't such a bad thing. The animation is hand drawn and the charm of the characters comes from their wacky personalities and traits, like King Neptune who is distraught when his crown is stolen, because it hides his rapidly thinning hair.

Spongebob dreams of being promoted to Manager at Krusty Krabs burgers where he works. Initially shattered that he is considered too 'kid' like and not 'man' enough for the role, Spongebob sets about to prove his worth for once and for all - to himself and to the whole sea world. He has a special relationship with Pat, and their blatant silliness is most appealing. For the road trip to Shell City to recover the missing crown, he and Pat jump into the Krab-mobile, which looks a little like a burger on wheels. Watching a singing and dancing peanut called Goofy Gruber in cabaret and seeing Pat in fish net stockings and stilettos doing the splits are scenes that stick. I love the scene when Spongebob takes a shower. After swallowing the soap, he attaches the hose to the top of his torso, which inflates and creates a cloud of soapy bubbles.

Surprisingly, there is a dash of live-action in the mix. In the opening scene, we meet a band of pirates, who excitedly queue up to watch the Spongebob movie at a theatre. The juxtaposition of the live action at the beginning and end is at such odds with the rest of the film, as is the sight of David Hasselhoff (as himself) emerging from the sea, like a sun-kissed god flexing muscles. You have to hand it to Hasselhoff, who sends himself up thoroughly, as he becomes Spongebob and Pat's saviour, carrying them on his suntanned back through the waves, like a motorised surfboard.

The voice cast, including the original key cast members from the TV series are excellent, plus welcome addition of Scarlett Johansson as Neptune's mermaid daughter and Alec Baldwin as the cowboy-like hitman Dennis.

Spongebob Square Pants is fresh and funny and is sure to make new friends this summer.

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CAST: David Hasselhoff

VOICES: Tom Kenny, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Alec Baldwin, Mr. Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Jeffrey Tambor David Hasselhoff

PRODUCER: Derek Drymon, Albie Hecht, Stephen Hillenburg, Aaron Parry, Julia Pistor, Gina Shay

DIRECTOR: Sherm Cohen, Stephen Hillenburg

SCRIPT: Derek Drymon, Tim Hill, Stephen Hillenburg, Kent Osborne, Aaron Springer, Paul Tibbett


EDITOR: Lynn Hobson

MUSIC: Gregor Narholz


RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes




VIDEO RELEASE: April 7, 2005

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