One of the greater mysteries around the Gabbing Geek home office is how the movie Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie has somehow not been “certified fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes despite largely positive reviews. This is the sort of thing that keeps Ryan and Watson up all night. The short answer is not enough “top critics” for that aggregator site have seen and reviewed the movie yet.
Well, I’m not a top critic, but I’ll review the movie all the same.
It’s actually a lot of fun. Kids will probably dig it more, but there’s a lot of fun stuff and meta humor going on to keep the adults entertained.
So, who is Captain Underpants? Originally, he’s a comic book character created by fourth grade best friends George and Harold (Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch). These two love laughing, pulling pranks, and creating comic books. They attend Jerome Horwitz Elementary School (that’s the real name of the Three Stooges’ Curly Howard, by the by), which is run by the joyless bane of their existence, Principal Krupp (Ed Helms). After a prank pulled on their schoolyard nemesis Melvin (Jordan Peele) is caught on tape, Krupp threatens to send the two boys to separate classes and end their friendship forever (seeing as how they live next door to each other and share a tree house, I am not sure how that is supposed to work). Playing around a bit with a hypnotic ring from a cereal box, George and Harold make Krupp think he is really their own creation Captain Underpants, a more fun-loving but destructive persona. Get the Captain wet and he turns back into Krupp. Snap your fingers, and he’s Captain Underpants.
It’s a good thing the Captain’s there, too, because an angry scientist (Nick Kroll) may be on the verge of becoming an actual supervillain in a quest to rid the world of laughter.
This movie was a lot of fun, though as befitted a movie by this title and target audience, there is a fair amount of toilet humor. That’s not generally for me, but the high energy and shifting animation style is another story. While mostly computer generated, there are segments of more traditional animation and even one using sock puppets. George and Harold also frequently break the fourth wall to address the audience in a rather fun manner. With an original song by “Weird Al” Yankovic to close the thing out, I had a good time at this one. Eight and a half long times on hold out of ten.