'Captain Underpants' review: Silly comedy for kids, smart asides for adults


This is a movie that is targeted with laser-like focus on what the average 4-8 year old will find hilariously amusing, and like the books, I am truly impressed at the fine balancing act that Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie performs in relying on the lowest of lowbrow humor without ever straying into excessive gross-out or mean-spirited territory. Honestly, you don't even need to bring a kid with you to have fun watching this film. While the majority of animation is on par with other animated films, moments with sock puppets and sequences that feel like children's crayon drawings coming to life add to George and Harold's unique vision. Hart and Middleditch's characters consider him as their nemesis and as they spend their time creating comic books about Captain Underpants, they eventually manage to put their school principal into a trance where he transforms into Captain Underpants. Suddenly he's behaving like a very enthusiastic, though very dumb, Captain Underpants. They live next door to each other and hang out in George's treehouse, where George makes up stories and Harold illustrates them. One day they mean to pretend to hypnotize Krupp with a toy ring from a cereal box, but it works.

A lot of comedy, much of it cartoon slapstick, ensues because Krupp as Captain Underpants believes he's truly a hero with super powers. The shenanigans of its child protagonists George and Harold (played by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch in the film) do teach some pretty offensive values - like disliking school because it's boring (yet it is) and defying teachers' authority because they're cruel (which they sometimes are). Their fun is threatened, however, with the arrival of a devious new science teacher, Professor P (Nick Kroll), who wants to devise a way to stop children from laughing.

Poopypants wants to do awful things and has a monstrous robotic toilet as helper.

Over all, I really enjoyed Captain Underpants: the First Movie, and I think families should go out and see it. Kids will love it, and adults will be able to appreciate the inventive storytelling and good jokes.

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Hey, toilet humor is the name of the game here, both literally and figuratively. The switching between visual styles isn't something the film does often enough, but it offers the movie a playfulness that suits it.

Krupp, for example, lives on Curmudgeon Boulevard and keeps a sign on his school desk that reads "Hope dies here".

Predictably, George and Harold land in Principal Krupp's office a lot. For example, when they find out they might be split up into different classes, one boy says 'Oh no. It quickly became a huge hit with middle grade audiences, especially among boys, with its trademark potty humor that successfully pushed the boundaries of what's appropriate in kids' books without crossing the line. "I was at a kindergarten recently, and I drew a big picture of Captain Underpants on the chalkboard". Using posthypnotic suggestion, they get him to behave like their comic-book superhero, making the principal switch between Krupp and Captain Underpants with a dash of water in his face.