In the same vein as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, another childhood favorite book series has been adapted for our viewing pleasure for the big screen. Captain Underpants come from the mind and illustrative skills of Dav Pilkey. It is about two fourth graders George and Harold, who have the best friendship anyone young or old would want and they both have a wild imagination that they channel to make comic strips. One of their biggest creations is Captain Underpants.
At school they have a love/hate relationship with their principal Mr. Krupp, a grumpy man who hates fun, happiness, and kids. Since George and Harold are known as the class clowns and for pulling pranks, Principal Krupp has reached the final straw and has made the decision to separate them and put them in separate classes. Which to a kid in elementary school that is the end of the world. In a way to fix this issue, they hypnotize the Principal that he is no longer a Principal and that he is actually the amazing Captain Underpants and fights crime with his superpowers. What they don’t know is that it actually worked and now they have a grown man running around in his underwear causing havoc Inspector Gadget style and the boys use this to their advantage.
There are some good qualities that I think makes this an effective children’s movie but for adults and parents, you are in for a possible disappointing ride depending on your sense of humor. Let me explain….
This story and two lead characters George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch) break the fourth wall and address the audience a lot in narrating this tale. Again, with big imaginations like theirs, it’s no wonder they are speaking to the audience who are not apart of the story. With that being said, their way of telling the story is fit perfectly for a kid but can be very annoying for the adults who are watching. Not that its pointless or boring. Just that the movie, kind of goes at 100 miles an hour with its visuals and toilet humor. I mean what do you really expect with the comic relief being used in a movie with the title Captain Underpants. There are a lot of fart jokes, toilet humor, and childlike humor that appeals more to kids than adults. From the start this humor goes full force in your face and really doesn’t change its tone. There is a lot of self-aware going on and I believe this movie has that advantage going for them.
This film is an A.D.D Eleganza Extravaganza
I found the voice cast in addition to Hart and Middleditch to be pretty good. Ed Helms is the one playing Principal Krupp/Captain Underpants and he does a great job of switching back and forth between an angry grump to a lovable childlike character with a great singing voice. Nick Kroll provides the voice of our villain that came out of no where. I would say he provides the most adult humor in the movie, his dialogue and train of thought speaks to the adult in the room that may find his obvious observation to be laughable. His introduction into the movie is a little out of left field but his mission and purpose in the film is sort of metaphor for bullying and also growing out of that child like manner that you lose when you reach a certain age.
The animation is pretty good and it provides a lot of physical comedy. The movie wasn’t as funny as I thought it was going to be and with such a cult following to the book I did have the expectation of something better than what I saw. As an adult who does like watching cartoons, I have seen better features than this one. Story wise I did enjoy this plot better than the latest animated movie I watched, Boss Baby, also from DreamWorks Animation. The jokes and comedy I think was a little disappointing. I did laugh out loud more than once but overall the movie was a little stale for my taste.
Here is what I’ll say to the target audience, this movie is definitely for kids. Adults may enjoy how much fun their children are having but if you don’t like the humor that is being displayed right from the beginning, you may be put off a little bit throughout the film as the humor doesn’t change. I love the friendship between Harold and George a lot. Those two are #friendshipgoals that I think anyone would want to have. Of course any type of relationship between two different ethnicities I fully support. These guys would do anything for each other and hopefully that messages speaks louder than playing pranks at school, bullying or making fun of the kid who “doesn’t get it”. I see this movie turning into a Netflix series because this type of story has so many options they can run with. I also would have loved to have seen this be done as a live action movie. Even with the cartoon like violence and humor I think can be accomplished. Look at the movie Shorts or Spy Kids by Robert Rodriguez. This would be a perfect project for him based on his resume.
3 out of 5
P.S. you will notice a kid named Melvin throughout the film. You may be able to recognize the voice talent of the other characters but Melvin was a complete mystery to me. Turns out the teacher’s pet, tattletale, know-it-all is none other than Jordan Peele.
I know right. Couldn’t tell at all it was him.