Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. The delights of the movie lie in its zany characters, its goofy settings, and above all its surrealistic visual style.
  2. The result is an animated adventure that's funnier than "Shark Tale" and more charming than "The Polar Express."
  3. 80
    The brilliance of The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie -- as well as the show -- is that it's cognizant without being self-consciously knowing.
  4. 80
    The movie is driven almost entirely by its exhilaratingly subversive characters.
  5. Its instinctive, unstoppable cheerfulness can be, as all those millions of viewers have found, something of a tonic if you're in the mood.
  6. The movie itself triumphs by similar means; it is a marvel of unleashed childishness, like a birthday party on the edge of spinning out of control.
  7. 75
    Assuming that few members of SpongeBob's primary audience are reading this (or can read), all I can tell you is, the movie is likely to be more fun than you expect.
  8. It won't cure the ills of the world, but it doesn't need to. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is adorable in its own spongy way.
  9. 75
    Full of action and silliness that will delight rug rats, but it's still hip and absurd enough to entertain grown-ups, too.
  10. The trippy creation of onetime marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, SpongeBob is a cockeyed optimist toiling at the bottom of the fast-food chain.
  11. 75
    The film, which is as economically made as it is primitively animated, ambles from adventure to adventure, taking nothing seriously, not even itself.
  12. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    An unstoppable good-mood generator, the resolutely 2-D SpongeBob SquarePants Movie has more yuks than "Shark Tale" and enough soul to swallow "The Polar Express" whole.
  13. The central theme of the movie is the pure joy the cartoon takes in childishness.
  14. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    I like my SpongeBob a little less lumbering, a little more free-associational, without that big, heavy anchor of a story structure to weigh him down.
  15. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Possesses charm, as well as visual and musical appeal, on the bigscreen. But as with many short-form TV entities when sextupled in length, "SpongeBob" proves more palatable as scrumptious fast food than full-scale repast.
  16. Throws humorous fish bones to the older crowd, too.
  17. Reviewed by: Jennifer Frey
    An amusing enough romp through his familiar undersea universe.
  18. The best moments in his first movie outing are those that feel most TV-like, just another day in the eternally optimistic undersea society.
  19. 67
    Spins a complete, thoroughly satisfying yarn from a short-form series.
  20. Truth be told, the full 99-minute movie does not entirely hold water; it feels like three or four good episodes connected with plot padding. Aesop probably wasn't too hot at long-form fiction, either.
  21. If nothing else, it may make one appreciate the cartoon even more.
  22. 60
    It's all innocuous, forgettable fun, but it's firmly aimed at those who find underwear endlessly funny.
  23. The movie is much too long, but mostly, and sometimes very, entertaining.
  24. Works best when it devotes itself to the small group of main characters featured on the show.
  25. Reviewed by: Scott L. Powers
    If your kid has SpongeBob SquarePants underwear, it's a good bet she or he will relish The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
  26. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Rarely delivers anything above and beyond the scope of the series.
  27. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    SpongeBob barely rates as OK when compared with "The Incredibles."
  28. Reviewed by: Angel Cohen
    Those who have never seen the series should either swim rapidly in the other direction or be willing to dive right in and suspend disbelief about the multitude of things that just don't make sense.
  29. 50
    Washes onto the big screen with a tide of weak one-liners, exaggerated reactions, and vaguely nauseating gags.
  30. Once again the title pretty much says it all.
  31. Everything about the film seems to have been done on the cheap. The music sounds like it came from a high school band.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 157 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 81
  2. Negative: 11 out of 81
  1. Aug 14, 2011
    Ever since the beginning I loved spongebob, but when I heard about this movie I thought they had done a little too much, i thought it would suck, honestly, though I'm obsessed with spongebob. I asked my parents to let me see it and the story line made me think that it would be bad again. When I watched it I was shocked by it, it was really good and I loved it. The original humor and the wide variety of new characters made me love it even more. I find it to be a great family movie, not just for kids, adults probably would enjoy it too. Full Review »
  2. Aug 31, 2012
    I remember the time when I went to watch this movie in theaters... Ok, no I don't because I was like 5... But, nevertheless, I have seen it on various other occasions such as on TV or VCR. And in my opinion, I think it is a very funny and enjoyable family movie. Especially Spongebob fans. Humor was constant and the plot was very well put together. New characters and places not seen in the show added to it's uniqueness. All in all, it is simply a "waterful" movie. It receives a well earned 9 from me. Full Review »
  3. Mar 12, 2014
    The smiling yellow, fry cook sponge in his first ever movie is like the show (Occasionally funny) most of the time. Only in the movie It's combined with adventure and musical and made into a good family film meant to be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. Full Review »