Homer Simpson’s love affair with an oinker he dubs, during one particularly absurd prank, “Spider-Pig,” is the type of purely dumb-bizarre-ridiculous-hilarious moment that has helped make The Simpsons a cultural treasure. Woe, then, that there aren’t more such moments sprinkled throughout The Simpsons Movie, the iconic clan’s first trip to the big-screen after 18 revolutionary years on the tube. A brain trust of Simpsons masterminds put plenty of love and care into this cinematic adventure, which involves an environmental crisis brought about by Homer’s careless disposal of Spider-Pig’s poop, and there are enough priceless gags and zingers packed into its 87 minutes to more than justify its existence. Yet while I can’t – and wouldn’t want to – deny that this is one of the year’s funniest theatrical releases, it’s also tough to shake a feeling of mild disappointment. Is that because of one’s intimate familiarity with not only the story’s tone, but also its themes (marriage, family, community) and satire (of religion, government, corporate America, consumerism, etc.)? Or is it because the Simpsons’ maiden movie, despite its gorgeous computer-aided 2-D visuals, fails to take significant advantage of film’s expansive creative freedoms? Regardless, The Simpsons Movie is consistently funny, touching and exciting, but it’s also nothing more than a solid, slightly overlong episode of the show that (as Homer teases us during the opening sequence) we get for free each week on TV.