I was a big fan of The Simpsons, back in the day. I wish I could say I loved it when it was awesome, and lost interest because it lost its charm, but those two things are only coincidentally correlated. I was pretty much ignorant of the trends in writing or plotting, and just happened to stop watching around season seven or eight because I didn't have as much time to myself. Even so, given my former dedication to the franchise, I'm surprised how little the movie sparked my interest. When I was talked into seeing it on Saturday, I was pretty blase about it.
It was worth the money and the time, though (both of which are high-premium in New York City). I saw it at the Magic Johnson AMC theater, and I definitely enjoyed it. I differ from those friends who said it was never very funny, and who claimed it never really prompted a serious laugh from them. It definitely drew a pretty consistent response from me, ranging from a chuckle to a burst, and it occasionally touched me in an emotional place as well (God, I hope I never decide to use that phrase again).
Some people said it just felt like a long episode; for some, this was a good thing, and for some, it made the movie a waste of time (in keeping with Homer's opening observation that we shouldn't pay to see the same crap we can watch on television). I kind of appreciated the tidy narrative, though, and further, I felt it went respectfully beyond the scope of a mere episode. The emotional lows were serious, and the absurdities (i.e. the dome, the catastrophic destruction of Springfield) were developed into real conflicts, instead of remaining non sequiturs, as they would have in an episode of the series.
What impressed me most, though, was the range of humor the writers tapped. In terms of jokes, the movie acted as sort of a retrospective on the whole Simpsons series. Some of the slapstick and low-brow humor (the roof repair segments, Bart's naked skateboard ride) recalled the first couple of seasons, when the characters were essentially caricatures of a dysfunctional American family. A good deal of the jokes reflected the humor of the show's heyday, seasons three through eight, such as (off the top of my head) most of the lines written for Mr. Burns, and the President's official decision-making process. Finally, there was a decent proportion of "zany antics" that have been so popular in recent seasons, like Homer's ride on a wrecking ball swinging between a Rock and A Hard Place.