Watch CBS News

Movie Review: 'Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- In hopes of staying grounded in reality, let's just pose the question:

What nine-year-old boy could possibly resist any movie with the word "underpants" in the title?

The nine-year-old I used to be sure couldn't have.

Which is why Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie will have elementary schoolers cackling and guffawing before the opening credits even roll.

Based on a series of kids' novels, first published in 1997, by author and illustrator Dav Pilkey – a kindred spirit of young, hyper, misunderstood troublemakers everywhere -- the animated Captain Underpants is about two mischievous fourth-grade pranksters, next-door neighbors in Ohio.

George, voiced by Kevin Hart, and Harold, voiced by Thomas Middleditch, take on their megalomaniacal principal, Benjamin "Benny" Krupp, voiced by Ed Helms – who has threatened to put these best buds in different classes -- and hypnotize him into stripping down and then tying a curtain around his neck to serve as a cape before he declares himself one of Earth's trusted defenders.

Meanwhile, George and Harold have turned their treehouse into a comic company called Treehouse, Inc.

(2½ stars out of 4)

Thus is he transformed into the kindhearted but delusional comic book superhero – one with no powers whatsoever -- that lends the film its title.

He's Captain Underpants, who "fights for truth, justice, and all that is pre-shrunk and cottony."

The Captain sees himself doing battle with the villainous Professor Pippy P. Poopypants (Nick Kroll) – who, naturally, calls himself Professor P -- while his handlers' nemesis is named Melvin (Jordan Peele), the school snitch, a privileged nerd whose invention – a toilet – they tamper with.

Hey, toilet humor is the name of the game here, both literally and figuratively. And, cheap jokes or not, some of them are pretty darn funny – especially for the young target audience.

Director David Sorel (2013's Turbo), employing a minimalistic animated style that is simplistic but charming, keeps the pacing rapid while working from a Nicholas Stoller script that stays faithful to the source materials by sticking with the kids' point-of-view, celebrating creativity and imagination and laughter, and even breaking the fourth wall from time to time.

So let's launder his tighty-whities with 2-1/2 stars out of 4 for the silly but funny kidflick, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Epic it is anything but, but grownups will at least enjoy glancing at and listening to their giggling youngsters.


More Bill Wine Movie Reviews

CBS Philly Entertainment News

Area Movie Events

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.