Starring: Tom Kenny, Antonio Banderas, Bill Fagerbakke
Directed by: Paul Tibbitt (TV’s “SpongeBob Squarepants”)
Antonio Banderas: Glenn Berger (“Kung Fu Panda”) and Jonathan Aibel (“Kung Fu Panda”)
Making its second coming to the big screen after 2004’s “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” diehard fans of the long-running Nickelodeon animated TV series should be happy to see everything is working just about the same in “Sponge Out of Water,” a trippy and extremely silly adventure with a cast of characters one could only imagine were invented while dropping acid. Is it more insanely manic than first movie? Well, if over the last 11 years you’ve been able to scrape the image of a porous sponge and pink starfish riding on the shirtless back of David Hasselhoff in the ocean before he launches them like a torpedo from the center of his overly tanned pectorals , then, yes, it just might be crazier.
In this new journey under the sea, SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) must team up with the series bad guy Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) when Bikini Bottom finds itself in short supply of Krabby Patties, the delectable crabcake burger served at SpongeBob’s place of employment, the Krusty Krab. Things get apocalyptic (think “Mad Max”) when the secret formula for the Krabby Patty mysteriously vanishes sending SpongeBob, Plankton, and the rest of Bikini Bottom’s main players (Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, and Sandy) into a frenzy to get it back. This includes building a time machine and meeting an all-powerful dolphin that oversees the universe and shoots lasers out of its blowhole.
The live-action sequences of “Sponge Out of Water” don’t come until the third act of the film when the animated friends end up in the real world, this time a little more beefed up and ready to battle it out with Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas, who is also the film’s narrator), a pirate who has the secret formula in his greedy mitts. As Beard, Banderas is a hoot. It’s the type of exaggerated role he is obviously having fun with just like he did mugging for the camera in “Expendables 3.” This time, however, he can share in that childlike enjoyment while on screen with a washed-onto-shore sponge instead of a crew of washed-up action stars.