Two overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold, hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.
I didn’t know that “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” was actually based on a series of children’s books. I guess it never reached Irish shores when I was growing up but my 10-year-old nephew was able to tell me all about it, in fascinating detail, as we sat in the theater, waiting for the film to begin. And once it did, I have to admit, I had a blast with it. The theater was packed with young children and they laughed out loud at every scene. Nothing will get you in the mood faster than a theater full of laughing kids. Then I couldn’t help but laugh along with them. Two young boys, #GeorgeBeard (#KevinHart) and #HaroldHutchins (#ThomasMiddleditch), are best friends. They are in 4th grade together at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School in the small town of Piqua, Ohio, where having fun and an imagination is frowned upon by all the teachers, but none more so than the school’s principal, #MrKrupp (#EdHelms). Both George and Harold are the school clowns, always getting up to mischief and causing hilarious pranks on the school’s faculty but Mr. Krupp has not been able to catch them in the act. The two boys are also comic book artists who between them, have created #CaptainUnderpants, a superhero who has superpowers and who wears underwear and a cape. When Krupp finally catches them pulling a prank during a mandatory Saturday school day, he informs them that he will separate them and that their friendship will slowly fade away. Desperate to stay together, George hypnotizes Krupp with a 3D Hypno-Ring he found in a box of cereal and much to his and Harold’s surprise, it actually works. They can control him and have him obey their every command. And who better to own the persona of Captain Underpants, a superhero that stands up for good, and rids the world of evil, than mean old Krupp?
The only catch is, Captain Underpants can be turned back in Krupp if he is doused with water but they can change him back into their superhero simply by clicking their fingers. Delighted that they won’t be split up, after all, things quickly go from good to bad when a new science teacher, #ProfessorPoopypants (#NickKroll), is inadvertently hired by Captain Underpants, believing him to be of good character but when Poopypants’ intentions prove to be dire, he wants to rid the world of laughter and fun, George, Harold and Captain Underpants must work together to foil Poopypants’ sinister plan once and for all!
“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” is exactly what kids need, especially in this day and age. It deals with friendship, bullying, and, ultimately, the power of laughter. It can overcome any situation and when things look hopeless for George and Harold, after Poopypants has reduced them, and the rest of the school’s children, into drooling, mindless, laughless zombies, both boys remember the good ol’ times and begin to laugh again, riotously, and as their laughter reaches epic proportions, Pooopypants’ plans are dissolved into the giant robot toilet he created to take over the world. The animation is top notch and the eclectic cast, including Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, #JordanPeele, Nick Kroll, and Ed Helms, have great fun playing off of each other. During a summer packed with R-rated and PG13-rated superhero movies, it’s great to see a superhero created by kids, for kids. Take the young ones with you and prepare to have them laugh you into submission.
In theaters Friday, June 2nd
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