Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

September 13, 2017 by Roz Tarszisz
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I thought an animated film for children was supposed to have stuff aimed at grownups, some sly jokes at our level, at least enough to keep us from falling asleep.

This one isn’t one of them.   It is also not good when you find yourself siding with the bad guy – in this case Mr Krupp (Ed Helms) the school principal.

Mr Krupp has two besties he is trying to rein in – George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch).   Their primary school world looks set to fall apart when he threatens to separate them into different classes because they are always causing trouble with their outlandish pranks.

Krupp is not a good principal and all the kids in school are bored and apathetic but hey, isn’t that just preparation for grownupville?

The boys create their own comic books about the inept Captain Underpants and Mr Krupp destroys copies of their books when he finds them.

Harold unexpectedly manages to hypnotise Mr Krupp during one of his rants and the principal morphs into Captain Underpants who takes off to save the world.  Captain U is funny because he is such an unlikely superhero but it’s not enough to sustain a full length feature film.

The really bad baddy is the new science teacher, Professor Poopypants (Nick Kroll) who wants to remove everybody’s sense of humour. As his name is the source of much sniggering, he is a pretty cranky baddy.  Class nerd Melvin (Jordan Peele) has invented a Turbo Toilet and when the Professor and Melvin get together a giant walking toilet is unleashed.

This is a one note story with no subtleties. Sure, the rock solid relationship between George and Harold is at its heart and they are not mean kids but it’s not that clever and the toilet jokes soon stop being even mildly amusing.

My companion, aged 6, liked the friendship between George and Harold and thought they had grown up a bit by the end.  He did say he would watch again if invited during the upcoming school holidays so maybe that’s enough.

The books on which the film is based have sold many millions of copies and going by the movie’s title, more of the same could be in the pipeline.  You have been warned.

2/5  Rated G    91 mins  Released September 21

Voiced by Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll

Directed by David Soren

Screenplay by Nicholas Stoller based on the illustrated novels by Dav Pilkey


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