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Review: Captain Underpants is a charming, absurd tale of friendship

Harold and George crack up at the sight Captain Underpants in Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

DreamWorks Animation

3 out of 4 stars

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Written by
Nicholas Stoller
Directed by
David Soren
Featuring the voices of Thomas Middleditch, Kevin Hart and Jordan Peele

A joyful ode to youthful creativity and puerile humour, the first (and probably not last) animated adaptation of Dav Pilkey's long-running series of kiddie books strikes a nice balance between the witty and the lowbrow. Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch voice inseparable, comic-loving, prank-playing grade schoolers who can hypnotize their apoplectic, fun-hating principal (Ed Helms) into thinking he's a dynamic, pantless superhero. It's a dream come true for the besties until the nefarious Professor Poopypants (a fully committed Nick Kroll) and his toady sidekick, Melvin (Jordan Peele, subversively voicing an entitled white nerd), hatch a plot to rid everyone at school of their sense of humour via an enormous robotic toilet. There are barely any girls in sight, and if you didn't giggle at anything in that previous sentence, Captain Underpants holds limited appeal, but a sharp script from Nicholas Stoller, a screenwriter who knows a thing or two about bouncing between bawdy comedies and family fare, anchors this charming, ingenious and absurd tale of friendship.

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