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A DEPARTURE FROM TYPICAL 'SIMPSONS' ANTICS

SUMMARY: Despite many attempts to clean up Lake Springfield, Homer Simpson manages to pollute the lake so much that it mutates squirrels. This causes the Environmental Protection Agency to quarantine Springfield under a giant dome. Meanwhile, Lisa gets a crush on a charming Irish lad named Colin who truly cares about the environment, and Bart starts questioning Homer's parenting skills. Who's a better dad - crazy but well-meaning Homer or God-loving neighbor Ned Flanders? Once the townspeople find out about Homer's folly, the Simpsons are run out of town, and go into hiding.

MY VIEW: The Simpsons Movie starts off with a bang. The first 30 minutes are exceedingly fun. Before they're over, Fox is jabbed twice, and even the moviegoers are ridiculed. More than that, Bart skates through town completely naked. This scene is most likely what gave the film its PG-13 rating (but just remember, it's a cartoon.) Unfortunately, after the beginning, the movie starts to coast and never really picks up speed. It seems like the movie is split into two parts. The first part is made for fans of the show. The second part is more of a serious drama. And the dramatic turn makes the Simpsons feel more human.

RECOMMENDATIONS: This film is essentially for anyone who is okay with yellow skin and massive overbites. And it goes without saying that the best scenes somehow involve Spider-Pig. When Homer has an epiphany, a true, honest-to-goodness theme song for him plays. And if you look in the credits, his song has the longest list of contributors. Speaking of credits, if you're not dying to run to the bathroom, stay until the end. You'll get a kick out of Springfield's anthem. And you'll get a kick out of the movie too.

Brett Phillips, 13, will be in ninth grade at Palm Harbor University High School.

REVIEW

The Simpsons Movie

Grade: B+

Director: David Silverman

Cast: Voices of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Hank Azaria, Albert Brooks, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Tom Hanks

Screenplay: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, David Mirkin , Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti

Rating: PG-13; crude humor, language

Running time: 87 min.

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