Movie: CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS:
the first epic movie
Rating: PG, mild rude humor throughout
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Jeanne: I should have known that a children's movie with "underpants" in the title would be indebted to bathroom humor. I'm not a total curmudgeon --- I can handle a little at a time --- but "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" is pretty much all yucky fart jokes, etc. all the time.
Based on the series of children's books of the same name by Dav Pikey, "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie", the story has great potential. George Beard (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (voiced by Thomas Middleditch) are best friends in the fourth grade at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School.
They are pranksters supreme and daily they make the life of Principal Benjamin "Benny" Krupp (voiced by Ed Helms) a living hell. They write comic books about a superhero named Captain Underpants. They hang out in the coolest tree house with no parents in sight.
Alas, Krupp has had enough of their shenanigans, and his solution is to separate the two boys, hopefully causing the end of their friendship. But George finds the Hypno Ring he got out of a cereal box --- and lo and behold --- he hypnotizes Krupp into becoming Captain Underpants --- cape, underwear, et al.
Much merriment ensues at the expense of Captain Underpants/Krupp until an evil genius arrives at Jerome Horwitz Elementary to fill the chemistry teacher's job. His name is Professor Pippy P. Poopypants (voiced by Nick Kroll) --- a name which elicits guffaws all around. And Professor P's diabolical plan is to erase laughter from every human being on Earth --- and then some.
The central idea of the indelible bond of true friendship in "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" is commendable and well presented. George and Harold are adorable fourth graders who truly love each other as best friends. This is all well and good.
But do we have to arrive at all of this goodness through constant toilet jokes? And much of the amusement is only funny to kids, which is fine for them, but doesn't leave much for the parents who must bring them.
"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" was a hit with the little ones at our screening. For the rest of us, it is mildly entertaining with only a few laugh-out-loud moments. Poor David had a hard time staying awake, so if you're thinking of taking your grandchildren --- you may want to think again.
Opinion: Wait for DVD
David: The first thing you notice about "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" is the underwhelming animation. After a while, it becomes apparent this is a film for moviegoers of a certain age --- eight and under. There is nothing in it of redeeming value for any adult cinephile. Drop your kids off, find something to do for 89 minutes, then pick 'em up.
Now this may not be entirely fair to the filmmakers because expectations for animated movies are at a high level. Over the past several years, many "children's" films are often more suited to adults, so why not anticipate the same with "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie"?
The storyline is a tired one. Mean school principal Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms) is converted into a benevolent superhero, albeit one sporting tighty whities -- actually a great opportunity for product placement is squandered here. But at least it is admirable to see two schoolmates, an African American lad named George (Kevin Hart), and a white boy named Harold (Thomas Middleditch), as best friends. But the juvenile attempts at comedy, aside from a couple of funny moments --- fourth graders looking pained and dazed listening to their teacher droning on --- are tedious to sit through.
Unfortunately, the film's title implies a sequel is forthcoming, as does one of the final scenes. To that, I can only say: you have been warned.
Opinion: Don't Bother!