A hyp­no­tis­ing ef­fect on hero

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket - Cap­tain Un­der­pants: The First Epic Movie (U)

For their 35th fea­ture length an­i­ma­tion, DreamWorks stu­dios have gone down the su­per­hero route – sort of.

The Mup­pets writer and Bad Neigh­bours di­rec­tor Ni­cholas Stoller adapts a screen­play based on the chil­dren’s novel se­ries by au­thor Dav Pilkey that fol­lows the ad­ven­tures of the won­der­fully named tit­u­lar pro­tag­o­nist.

It’s an ori­gin story that sees imag­i­na­tive pranksters Ge­orge (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Mid­dled­itch) hyp­no­tise their moody prin­ci­pal Mr Krupp (Ed Helms) into believ­ing he is the dar­ing su­per­hero of the comic books the pair have writ­ten.

Long-term DreamWorks col­lab­o­ra­tor David Soren helms his sec­ond movie, after av­er­age 2013 car­toon Turbo, and his sopho­more ef­fort is aimed squarely at an­kle-biters.

That’s not to say there’s noth­ing for us adults to en­joy, though, as Soren and his an­i­ma­tion team film in a cre­ative style, util­is­ing ev­ery­thing from comic strips, flip charts and even a sock pup­pet se­quence.

The edit­ing is as fre­netic as a kite in a hur­ri­cane and. like its younger tar­get au­di­ence, the film rarely sits still.

Ge­orge and Harold do a lot of fourth wall­break­ing talk­ing to the cam­era in the style of Woody Allen in An­nie Hall and Matthew Brod­er­ick in Fer­ris Bueller’s Day Off – there’s a cou­ple of vin­tage ref­er­ences for mums and dads to sink their teeth into!

Hart’s role is one of his least an­noy­ing as he’s forced to tone down his of­ten over­bear­ing comedic style and Helms is equally adept at voic­ing a cranky school prin­ci­pal as he is a delu­sional, pants-wear­ing wannabe hero – some­times within sec­onds of each other in the same scene.

Nick Kroll lends his nasally tones to bad guy Pro­fes­sor Poopy­pants, who is ter­ri­ble at try­ing to hide his evil agenda; try­ing to wipe out all of the laugh­ter in the world.

Your funny bone won’t be given a vig­or­ous work­out with Cap­tain Un­der­pants, but Stoller does live up to his pretty stel­lar comedic back­ground at times.

Some gags – a ‘trapped’ mime, re­lent­less name-mock­ing – have been done be­fore but there are other clever jokes, like ridi­cul­ing the cost of ex­pen­sive ac­tion set-pieces and a run­ning gag about the school sec­re­tary being on hold on the phone longer than some­one try­ing to get an elec­tri­cian out to the house when the TV is on the blink.

Themes of young friend­ship being tested and the power of imag­i­na­tion will res­onate with kids and Cap­tain Un­der­pants is the per­fect school summer hol­i­day flick for pri­mary pupils to lap up.

It may not tran­scend into age-no-bar­rier an­i­ma­tion favourite ter­ri­tory, but right up un­til the manic end­ing it’s a guilty plea­sure that proves to be a wel­come 90-minute dis­trac­tion from more se­ri­ous life.

After all, it’s not ev­ery day you see a gi­ant toi­let go­ing on a ram­page!

Brief en­counter Cap­tain Un­der­pants in ac­tion

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