The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie tries to be broad enough to appeal to a wide variety of audiences, but ultimately fails to please any. In a crowd full of kids loaded with SpongeBob T-shirts, dolls, and bags, there were only three laughs throughout the entire screening. All three came at moments when, for one reason or another, characters lost their pants. (Apparently to eight-year olds, ass means funny).
It appears as if the writers were deathly afraid of falling into the traps most cliche TV translations of films fall into, and attempted to throw in any outlandish idea that popped into their heads to counterbalance the formulaic plot and lack of character development. However, the TV show formula is what the kids loved. Musical numbers with pirates and a cameo from David Hasselhoff only distracted them from the characters they came to see.
The strength of Shrek was its ability to blend pop culture humor that both kids and adults appreciate. Attempts at pop culture humor, such as having the entire ending in the style of an '80s music video, only serve to alienate kids further from the film. The target audience wasn't even born in the '80s, and due to poor direction, anyone in the audience old enough to get the jokes won't find them very funny.
Even the core demographic of stoned college students will leave disappointed, finding only a few scenes with intense colors and trippy imagery.