The opening sequence begins with Captain Bart and the pirates trying to find the movie. They sing and dance their way through the opening credits and eventually wind up running through a theatre lobby and filling up the first few rows as the movie begins.
The actual cartoon part of the movie begins with an emergency at the Krusty Krab. Someone has ordered a Krabby Patty and it doesn't have cheese. People are going crazy and a crowd has gathered. Mr. Krabs says that the only person who can save the day is "THE MANAGER" to which we see SpongeBob enter with spurs on and wielding an attache case. He calmly talks the customer down and after opening the case (full of bomb diffusing supplies) and adding a slice of cheese... the day is saved. In a very "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" sort of way... the chanting crowd slowly resolves itself into the reality of SpongeBob's alarm going off. It was all a dream, but today is the day that Mr. Krabs is opening the Krusty Krab 2! He will be announcing a new manager. SpongeBob knows this will be him because of his insanely long number of consecutive "Employee of the Month" awards.
Plankton has given up. He's watching from the Chum Bucket across the street and can't figure out why no one comes to HIS place instead of the highly successful Krusty Krab. He has used up all his evil plans from A to Y and gives up. Karen, his robot wife, points out that there is always Plan Z. He has renewed interest and decides Plan Z is the way to go. He runs outside and gets stepped on by SpongeBob. SpongeBob tries to scrape him off like gum until Plankton starts yelling. Plankton tells SpongeBob that he's going to take over the world and SpongeBob just shrugs it off and says "Good luck with that" and heads to the ceremony.
Patrick and SpongeBob decide to celebrate afterwards at The Goofy Goober. Mr. Krabs is giving a long speech that indicates that SpongeBob will be made the new manager, but announces Squidward Tentacles as the new manager of the Krusty Krab 2 (which is simply next door to the original). SpongeBob doesn't hear and goes up to the stage to accept his promotion. He starts thanking people and doesn't realize the job isn't his until Mr. Krabs tells him that he's just a kid. At this point Patrick comes gliding in with a SpongeBob flag between his butt cheeks... crashing into the sign and bringing down the house.
SpongeBob and Patrick go to the Goofy Goober (a kid's place with Chuck E. Cheese type animatronics) and wind up spending the evening in the "peanut bar" downing sundae after sundae until they pass out on the floor (as if drunk). They wake up hungover and realize it's the next morning. SpongeBob is late for work!
During the night Plankton had broken into King Neptune's (Jeffrey Tambor) palace and stole his crown. The symbol of his power AND the cover of his bald head... which he thinks is only receding or thinning hair. However, it is completely bald and reflects light without a crown hiding it. His daughter Mindy (Scarlett Johansson) calms him down, but he just gets worked up again. He finds a note and rushes to the Krusty Krab to find his crown. He decides he's going to cook Mr. Krabs because the note read "I stole your crown. Sincerely Eugene H. Krabs" and he believes it. The phone rings and Mr. Krab's answering machine picks up... to hear a man talking about selling the crown to someone in "Shell City". This proves Mr. Krabs is guilty! However, it is Plankton making the call in a disguised voice! King Neptune freezes Mr. Krabs and is going to zap him with his triton. Right then a hungover SpongeBob enters and comes out of his stupor to try and save Mr. Krabs (even though he's really mad at him for calling him a kid). King Neptune (thanks to Mindy) decides that SpongeBob can try to return the crown. He gives him 10 days. Patrick helpfully (and stupidly) gets this lowered to 6 days... by reverse bargaining with King Neptune who leaves Mr. Krabs frozen.
They start on the road to "Shell City" in the Krabbymobile (a Krabby Patty shaped car) and make it to the county line before getting laughed at by some gas station guys. The guys tell them they won't make it 10 seconds past the county line. The boys find this silly and drive over the county line. A thug appears and steals their ride. They lasted 12 seconds! They laugh wildly but then realize they have to walk the rest of the way.
Plankton steals the Krabby Patty recipe from the frozen Mr. Krabs and gives everyone a free bucket helmet with their purchase. The buckets are mind control devices and he turns the entire town of Bikini Bottom into his slaves... even GARY!
We see the boys on the road and they encounter several enemies. A mysterious biker named Dennis is seen pursuing them.
They finally spot their ride at a biker bar, but the key (a spatula) is in the bar with the thug. They sneak in and manage to get the key back... but they start a massive fight in the bar in the process by blowing bubbles in the bathroom. This is against the rules and the bikers try to find the "BUBBLE BLOWING BABIES". They make everyone line up and the head guy starts singing the "Goofy Goober" theme... which no bubble blowing baby could resist. Just as SpongeBob and Patrick are about to cave... this two-headed biker caves and starts singing it. They all jump him and the boys run out with the key.
They drive to the edge of a giant drop off, but see an old lady giving out free ice cream. SpongeBob orders one and it's discovered that this is actually a huge fish tricking them by using it's tongue as a lure. It shows itself to be evil and eats their ride and proceeds to get eaten by a more massive fish. They give up and decide they ARE kids. Princess Mindy appears and gives them mustaches of grass and a bag of magic wind to use to get home. They think they've grown up and now have the fortitude to carry on. They jump down into the ravine and bravely sing about being men. They meet all sorts of scary monsters, but since they are men... they aren't scared. The monsters respect them and sing along as the MEN climb up the other side and head on their way to "Shell City". This is where they meet the mysterious biker named Dennis (Alec Baldwin) who appears, mocks the boys and pulls off their "mustaches". He goes to stomp them for his boss (in return for SpongeBob stepping on Plankton) and right before he gives them a big boot, a BIGGER BOOT steps on him. It's a cyclops! (an old-time diving bell diver) The cyclops grabs SpongeBob and Patrick and pulls them out of the water and up on the beach. He walks them to "Shell City" which is actually a tourist shop on the beach. The boys see the King Neptune's crown is on display in the shop.
Cyclops straps SpongeBob and Patrick to a board and turns the heat lamp on. They look around to see all sorts of dried creatures. The heat is too much and the boys dry out... but as they do... they each shed a tear that rolls down the board and forms a heart. The heart rolls down the board to the cord, travels the cord and shorts out the heat lamp just as the boys turn into a "real" sponge and starfish. A fire starts and the sprinklers go off... turning all the creatures in the room back into cartoons. The boys escape the cyclops (who never takes off his equipment) and run to the beach with the crown. They decide to use the bag of wind and get home, but Patrick uses it wrong and it goes flying away into the ocean.
All hope is lost, but then DAVID HASSELHOFF appears! He picks the boys up and heads into the water. He lays himself down and begins to jet out to Bikini Bottom. Just then we see the BIGGER BOOT approaching! It lifts up and we see Dennis has survived! He begins to beat up SpongeBob and Patrick (who are riding on Hasselhoff's back as he propels himself through the water) and almost knocks them flying. At the last second Dennis is knocked off Hasselhoff and the boys get dropped off at home.
They return the crown to Neptune and everything is going great except Plankton puts a helmet on the king and he starts attacking SpongeBob. He shots a giant fireball out of his triton that goes all the way to the surface and blackens a basking Hasselhoff! SpongeBob gets inspired to rock out and begins wailing on a guitar to classic riffs. This intense playing explodes the helmets and everyone returns to normal. Plankton is put in a tiny jail and everyone congratulates SpongeBob and Patrick for being men, but they don't care anymore. They just love being themselves. Mr. Krab makes SpongeBob the new manager and Squidward starts to make a speech about SpongeBob. SpongeBob acts like he's going to refuse, but then just makes a comment that doesn't apply to anything and takes the job!
The pirates from the beginning are celebrating and crying tears of joy as the end credits roll by!
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