Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie builds its story around best friends, next-door neighbors, and prankster-saviors of the elementary school, George Beard (Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch). This pair of class clowns believe it’s their mission and duty to spread joy and merriment throughout their school by pulling off ridiculous and disruptive stunts. They’ve create a comic series their backyard treehouse featuring an underpants-wearing superhero Captain Underpants and coast through the day imagining new adventures for their hero. But standing in their way is draconian principal, the dour faced Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms); his sole mission, other than sucking the life out of learning, is to break these friends apart and be the ultimate killjoy.
After a series of slapstick antics at a school assembly, the jokesters end up in the principal’s office – once again – in the hot seat. This time, Krupp’s dead-set on separating the two and ending their friendship (because separate classrooms can do that…seriously) for.ev.er. To avoid being separated – and punished for their most recent epic prank – they mesmerize Krupp into believing that he is in fact, Captain Underpants.
That’s it. That’s the set-up. The rest of the movie is a brightly colored, tumble through the mind of a slightly above average mischievous imp. Most of the humor is of the slapstick variety (because shenanigans) but there are more than a few jokes that’ll drag a chuckle from the adults in attendance.
The story though simple is not boring and it’s geared towards the young and the young at heart. The film’s lessons are straightforward, timely and delivered with laughs, and few songs. There’s an love offbeat love story, a quixotic villain and everything…
It’s a story arc is with a message for the kiddos (but more than a few adults could use the refresher) it’s a good one. Captain Underpants doesn’t try to dig deep but does a bit more than just poke at your funny bone. Actions have consequences and sometimes doing anything to not be bored isn’t always the best way to save the day. It’s not a heavy-handed pass at indoctrination so those hints of morality appear in a way that takes nothing away from the light-hearted nature of the overall film. Kids of various ages, familiar with the books or not, will love this high-energy, imaginative pair and more the one adult will be reminded of the days when making it to recess was the highlight of the day. Based on the twelve-book series of the same (root) name, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie has a firm grasp of its target audience and that’s a good thing.
For the record: I believe Kevin Hart has finally found something that fully fits his personality and voice in his alter ego George.
Based on the worldwide sensation and bestselling book series, and boasting an A-list cast of comedy superstars headed by Kevin Hart and Ed Helms, DreamWorks Animation brings audiences the long-awaited global movie event, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. This raucously subversive comedy for the entire family tells the story of two overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold, who hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.
Cast: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele, Kristen Schaal
Director: David Soren
Writer: Nicholas Stoller (Based on the Epic Novels by Dav Pilkey)