Review/THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (PG)/93 minutes/Opens tomorrow/***
The story: When sneaky Plankton (Mr Lawrence) goes after the secret formula for the beloved Krabby burger patty, things go terribly wrong for the whole of Bikini Bottom. It is up to SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny) to save the day - while teaming up with Plankton.
For those who know nothing about SpongeBob SquarePants - have you been hiding under a rock? - here is a quick introduction.
He is an eternally cheerful sponge who lives in a pineapple in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. He works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab restaurant and his best friend is starfish Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke).
Ostensibly a children's programme, the show has plenty of adult fans as well for its humour, some of which probably sails right over the heads of younger viewers.
The movie made an impressive US$55 million (S$75 million) in its first weekend early last month and has hit US$140 million in total domestic takings thus far.
Compare this with The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004), which managed to make the same amount for its total worldwide box office.
SpongeBob himself is a big part of the show's appeal. He is kind of square, both in shape and character, but his sunny optimism and cheerful earnestness in the face of all adversity is irresistible.
The regular television cast reprise their roles from the series and, as in the first movie, the final act presents the characters in computer animated form in a live-action setting.
It is a pity, though, that we do not get best buds SpongeBob and Patrick pairing up here. Instead, SpongeBob joins hands with Plankton and there is a learning moment about teamwork, or tee-am work, as the latter insists on calling it.
Still, there is enough humour to buoy this movie, from literal jokes to cheesily bad puns.
"Hold the mayo," is one instruction hollered during a food fight with Plankton. Watch what Patrick does.
Plus, we get to peek inside SpongeBob's brain.
Now that is one trippy scene to absorb.