Very interesting discussion. I think the writers of the movie should read all this. Well, it could be kinda frustrating for some of them, but it's actually constructive criticisms.
I would agree with JM1878 that lack of irony and honesty are the major flaws in the movie. In fact all the problems with the movie are more in the absence of something, rather than in what they did include. My rating for the movie is quite generous, but at the same time I agree with JM1878 and Veryjammy in a lot of things.
That's why what we actually get in the movie I don't think it's bad. There is a couple of bad things, but most is fairly good. But there's too many things missing. And what JM1878 points out are the main ones.
I wasn't really expecting otherwise before I watched the movie. I generally thought that if the movie was the funny and everybody was in character I would enjoy it. And I did. But one thing I was truely looking for was the emotional moment. And it didn't work for me. Now I've been criticising the scene before, saying that it was manipulative, but actually it could not be a problem of the scene itself rather than what JM1878 has explained so well, that it was difficult to believe in the context of the whole movie. Because of how exaggerated all the context was. It wasn't a bad scene but the lack of a context in which it could fit made it less effective for me.
Now, about the lack of irony. That's what I wasn't really thinking about before I watched the movie. In general I knew the movie was going to have a happy ending. It never occurred to me that it could have a kinda shallow feeling because of that, cause maybe the irony of OFF is a given and something I don't think so much about until I don't find it there.
In fact I think the show in general is now less ironic than it used to be and the many character conflicts we can see in it are usually developed in a more traditional and sitcommy way, and there are less "bitter" endings than before. However, we have had some of those in Jean era. Mr Spritz Goes To Washington had a bitter ending that was very poignant and funny at the same time. C.E. D'oh ended with a father and son scene that was both sweet and crude at the same time. The movie ends with a father and son scene but it's mostly played on Homer's slapstick scene (which I thought one of the most imaginative piece of slapstick in the movie anyway) and though there is something about the father and son relationship there.
But what about the whole action hero/happy end thing-y. I actually didn't mind it too much at first, but when the scene progressed and the movie eventually ended I felt something -again- was missing. To me is not a problem that Homer could eventually save the day, even in the most incredible way, or that he could come back to Marge and kiss her in a Hollywood-esque tradition. But there has to be some irony at some moment. Maybe during that, maybe after that. Like in Joy Of Sect in which, when they finally got rid of the dangerous sect and its leader, they are still being manipulated by Fox news.
I am not one that would criticism the action climax on itself-though it's not the kind of thing I'm looking for in a comedy. But what I mean is that I don't think it's esentially easier to write the action climax itself than adding the irony of the bitter ending. I guess complex action scenes are somewhat difficult to write, even if they don't make sense. The thing with the irony is that , if the scene is overly exaggerated, it makes it more honest and most important, it makes it different. Different to all the other summer movies. Different to other animated movies. We need more of that and I think it wasn't enough in this movie.
I also think there is something kinda "dishonest" in how they structured the whole thing in a way that mostly makes sense and it's funny, but gives you false expectations of what you will find. I had never seen before a Lisa story in the show that had been so excellent in its introduction but so shallow in its resolution. Even in the worst Scully episode I don't think they have ever done something as abrupt as what they did here with the pig and the way it's abandoned. They sure have done awful, incoherent and extremely surreal stuff, but usually you didn't thought things were cut here and there.
I don't know what's behind the decission of cutting some of the stuff but you get the feeling that the important part are the jokes and most of the other things doesn't matter that much. Which shouldn't be bad, but it is, cause it comes out as more shallow than it could have been originally. So we have to be satisfied with Lisa's crush story cause there were some good gags in it and it ends in a happy mood? I don't think so, the show has done it better a lot of times. If you don't have time for that, then cut some of the other stuff or just make the film longer. There are scenes that I liked that were not all that necessary or could have been shorter, like the Disney parody or even the whole Bart's doodle thing.
And to end with this lack of something, one thing Veryjammy also pointed out before, there was a certain lack of the more clever or long or subtle type of joke/dialogue from the series. There were high amounts of visual gags and funny lines, but there were not Homer's speechs (after all George Meyer was one of the writers that came up with some of those and he WAS in the movie), the dialogues between Marge and Lisa were interrupted by the Spiderpig joke or were very short (that line about anger and women), there were plenty of jokes involving Homer's personality and wacky antics but not a lot of -if any-Homerisms (again the closest to it is a very short line "Worst day of your life...so far")...One particular exchange that surprised me cause it was a mildly long dialogue that included a more or less subtle satire was the Alaska money bit. Again it's not that the jokes that were included were bad, it's the lack of some things that I was expecting there too. Look how Homer fix his relationship with Bart, "I'll let you carry the bomb" "The man knows me". I'm not even criticizing it either but they didn't have a mildly long dialogue in the whole movie. One of them is interrupted by a pig with a hat. The whole roof scene involved more action and silliness than sincere dialogue between the two of them. Even Marge and Homer talked relatively few to each other during the film. After their first exchange has Lisa got to know or talk to Colin so she can be that sure he's perfect for her in every way?
Maybe they were trying to show, not tell, but it's certainly another thing I started to miss once the end credits appeared.