Tra-La-La! Ed Helms, Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch Keep it Brief
Directed by David Soren
Starring Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms
Released June 2nd, 2017
Harold and George are best friends in the fourth grade who spend all of their free time making comic books, most of which feature a superhero they made up, Captain Underpants. Harold (Thomas Middleditch) draws the comics while George (Kevin Hart) writes the stories. These two are mischievous hellions bent on making school days more fun with pranks on all of their teachers, including the principal of Jerome Horwitz Elementary, Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms).
Any film that can make kids laugh while encouraging them to read books is worthy of praise, no matter how stinky the toilet humor gets.
Mr. Krupp is a miserable, lonely man, who takes out his frustrations on Harold and George, yelling at them and confiscating their homemade comics whenever possible. When he decides to place Harold and George in separate classrooms, they worry this will be the end of their friendship, so they do something drastic. They hypnotize their principal with a magic ring. Imagine their shock when it works! Faster than you can say “Tra-La-La!” Mr. Krupp believes he is Captain Underpants and he sets off to right wrongs.
Harold and George think seeing their principal in nothing but his tighty whities and a makeshift cape is hilarious until an actual supervillain shows up in the guise of their new science teacher. Professor P (Nick Kroll) plans to use his giant mechanical toilet to crush the entire town unless Harold, George, or Captain Underpants can stop him.
Rated PG, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is fine for younger audiences, as long as you’re OK with gross-out humor. I’m not the biggest fan of potty humor, but this movie isn’t for me; it’s for six and seven and eight year olds who would happily guffaw at a villain’s last name being “Poopypants.”
There are twelve Captain Underpants books, with this movie covering the first four. If it’s successful, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a trilogy of movies to cover all of the stories. The animation style is a good translation of what author/illustrator Dav Pilkey does with his books, including a Flip-O-Rama interlude. Throw in an end-credits song by “Weird” Al Yankovic and you have a hit on your hands.
My six year old son enjoyed the movie so much that we stopped at the library on our way home from the screening and for bedtime that night we read Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 (the eleventh epic novel by Dav Pilkey). Any film that can make kids laugh while encouraging them to read books is worthy of praise, no matter how stinky the toilet humor gets.