For about 20 minutes or so the latest Spongebob movie unspools pretty much the way you’d expect it to. Bob is running his underwater burger place and is at war with rival junk-food proprietor Plankton, who wants his secret formula for the mayonaisse that makes his burgers so special.
The film tells the story of a bearded pirate, played by Antonio Banderas, who steals a magical book, which tells a story that unfolds on screen: that of Bikini Bottom, an undersea world where SpongeBob, an employee of the popular Krusty Krab fast-food joint, guards the secret recipe for its delicious burgers. A rival called Plankton, owner of the grisly restaurant the Chum Bucket, wants to steal the recipe, a scroll kept in a bottle, but it vanishes in some weird hole in the space-time continuum; a catastrophe seemingly triggered by the pirate’s unauthorised reading of the magic book. Can’t the owners just remember the recipe? Who knows? Almost every line is a zinger, which can be appreciated in a state of total sobriety: it’s a non-stoner stoner film – and very funny.