Release Date: June 2, 2017
Run Time: 1 hours 29 minutes
After Credit Scene: During the credits, not after
IMAX Viewing: NO
3D Viewing: NO
Reviewer: Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score: 7.5 out of 10
A Non-Spoiler Review
An animated hero movie we can laugh at. Of the summer movies I’ve reviewed so far, this movie was the most fun to watch.
George (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Harold (voiced by Thomas Middleditch) are best friends and attend elementary school. Typical boys, they are always looking for a practical joke with their target mostly being the school principal, Mr. Krupp (voiced by Ed Helms). Mr. Krupp is determined to end their antics and break-up their friendship, but the boys aren’t having any of it. They accidently find a way of turning Mr. Krupp into their comic book super hero, “Captain Underpants!” What is a hero without monsters and a villain that he must defeat? The story develops from there.
What works: As I mentioned, this movie is fun for adults to watch, although I have a feeling dads will have more of a connection to the story than moms. George and Harold’s story is funny and the trouble they get themselves into will certainly resonate with kids. In fact there were a few times that the story took me back to my own childhood memories and I chuckled aloud. The boys love comic books and I think this will appeal to both kids, “hoodies”, and parents that appreciate comic books. The voice acting is great as one would expect with a Dreamworks film. Jordan Peele (Melvin) and Nick Kroll (Professor P.) also provide a solid performance. For kids, this is potty humor that they can laugh at along with their parents. Despite the idea of an adult in his underwear is the costume for our hero, it works because this is the vision of these two boys which I think is probably spot on for kids of that age.
What doesn’t work: The target audience appears to be boys between the ages 5 – 12 years young as well as dads. That isn’t to say that girls and moms won’t like the movie, but I do feel they will be in the minority as the movie really didn’t attempt to pull in a girl’s point of view. I also feel that the writers hurt themselves with such a narrow target as once kids leave elementary school, these types of stories become “uncool” and most adults are not seeking an animated film such as this to watch in a theater. Although the writing is very good, kids under the age of 8 are not going to be fully engaged throughout the film. There are a few flat points in the film that are great for character development, but kids of that age need more stimulation to remain engaged in the film. This was evident to me as those kids in the theater with me took these times to leave the theater presumably to use the bathroom or for a visit to concessions as well as being curious to who/what was around them.
Overall this is a good film, but with a very limited target audience. I enjoyed Captain Underpants and recommend it to any parent that doesn’t mind the premise that a grown man in a red cape and tighty-whities is the hero of the film. Although I would love to see a sequel, the box office numbers may not bring confidence to Dreamworks for that to happen.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give this one a 7.5. A kids combo is in order for this film. It’s a better film than I expected, but it fails to capture its audience throughout the film.
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