Release Date: June 2, 2017
Director: David Soren
Writer: Nicholas Stoller, Dav Pikey
Cast: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele, Kristen Schaal, DeeDee Rescher, Brian Posehn, David Soren, Mel Rodriguez, Susan Fitzer, Lynnanne Zager, Tiffany Lauren Bennicke, James Ryan, Leslie David Baker
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 89 minutes
Production Company: DreamWorks Animation, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Genre: Animation, Action, Comedy
The range of a child imagination is endless. That’s where the idea of Captain Underpants comes from. On the surface, when you hear such a title you’ll most likely come up with reasons on how ridiculous it sounds, thinking it won’t serve your sensibilities. You wouldn’t be alone, as most would write it off as over the top silliness. Though it is all of that plus a bit more. The series, Captain Underpants, contains 12 books, 3 spinoffs, and has sold over 70 million copies worldwide. Though it’s not the name or material that holds the weight, but the author (Dave Pilkey) behind it, and how the story is told through the characters. That’s where two young boys named George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch) come into play. While you may initially assume that Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is a film only for children, you’ll be surprised at all the dialogue that makes this film enjoyable for adults too.
Once a film starts, it’s important for it to stand its ground and get the attention of the audience members. Simultaneously, it does that for both children and adults. It has art illustrations made with construction paper that’s bright and colorful for kids, but the narration from the two main characters is what steals the show. George and Harold are two best friends in the fourth grade, and they’re inseparable. These two are the perfect pair, especially when it comes to storytelling. George comes up with the script, and Harold brings it all to life with his art. In addition to their passion for make believe, they are rabid pranksters that can’t help themselves. Any chance they get they have a plan to prank their fellow schoolmates, and even the sinister principal, Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms). If nothing else, what makes following these two trouble makers so fun is being able to live through them. If you ever grew up in school not liking a teacher or piece of administration, George and Harold were there to live out your dream. If you ever wanted to prank someone, open a forbidden door in your school before the end of the year, or slam a pie down the principal face, it was so invigorating to see George and Harold do so.
Saying these two are hilarious is an understatement. They’re both laugh out loud funny, as they just want to live and be kids, but at every turn the evil Mr. Krupp tries to foil their plan. As you’re already entertained, the plot thickens when Krupp is hypnotized to think he’s Captain Underpants (Ed Helms). This character made a complete 180-degree transformation, and his dumb innocence combined with ignorance carries the film along with endless laughs. It’s the process to get there that makes it work. You’re able to relate to George and Harold as they fulfill their fantasies as any other kid would. There’s been plenty of times you pulled plastic out of a cracker jack or cereal box, just to wave the so-called magical toy around a room imagining you had powers. This is exactly what these two kiddos do, and their reaction to it all is priceless. As they’re on their adventure their personalities switch back and forth from elementary kids to young adults addressing real world issues. That’s the link that makes this film fun for all ages.
Don’t make the assumption that there’s no enjoyment to be had with Captain Underpants. The material is quite creative, and the innocence behind it is pure. This is a film for everyone, as it brings your childhood back to life from many years ago. There are times when either the kids, the adults, then all groups are laughing together. It is a well-rounded form of entertainment that’s aware of all its tropes. It’s exactly what it needs to be, and is unapologetic in regards to its wacky nature.