Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Longest Daycare (2012) Film Review
The Longest Daycare
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Still crawling even in future episodes where her siblings have grown up, baby Maggie has long been The Simpsons' best suited character for surrealist satire, and in this Oscar-nominated short she gets the chance to shine. The plot is fairly simple. She's dropped off by her mother at an Ayn Rand daycare centre. Thee she meets a bully, armed with a mallet. The bully is out to kill butterflies. Maggie finds a caterpillar and becomes determined to save it.
The execution is the thing. Shown in 3D on the big screen, this film benefits from some nicely designed vistas that skew the normally reliable neat lines of the Simpsons' universe, recalling as they do so any number of drink or drug-enhanced experiences in Fifties noir. They suit the sinister centre in which crude but still effective referential jokes recall the series in its early, funny days. Dragged past a high achievers section that draws on Sixties spy movie chic, Maggie is dumped in suitably grim surroundings. No doubt these align with the way many toddlers perceive their early nursery experiences. They help to maintain the tone of the film even after the central narrative has shifted gears into comedy caper territory.
At around this point, the film runs out of ideas, saving just one for the punchline. Perhaps jokes at this stage would be a distraction; we are meant to be oncentraing on Maggie's emotional arc. It doesn't quite come together, though. The film builds toward an emotional climax, then lets its own satire get in the way, draining the energy that made us care.
Longtime fans of the cartoon family will find this a treat. For everyone else, it's a pleasant diversion, nicely made, but little more.Reviewed on: 14 Feb 2013