I don’t dislike a childhood property because it was my childhood.
I don’t like when said source material felt disrespected at the expense of marketing.
Everything about this film felt off, and yet the presentation really kept this from being complete garbage.
George and Harold, played by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch, are two best-friends who turned their principal into their made-up superhero, Captain Underpants, who is played by Ed Helms.
Based on the novels of Dav Pilkey, this film’s script and plot really wished they could have took a good look at the actual dialogue of the source material.
They got the look down. They got the characters. They definitely got the references down, especially for those who knew who the Bionic Booger Boy was, or who Professor Poopypants is.
What they lacked though was depth and conflict. Two pillars of any film.
There is no excuse.
If someone can walk away from a film like “How to Train Your Own Dragon” in tears, or still laugh at the jokes from “Shrek,” the argument that it’s just a film for kids is not a reasonable one.
Maybe it was the age they were aiming for, but looking through stories upon stories, this typical origin story built toward nothing.
This was simply a movie that felt like it was made by a 4-year-old.
Fourth wall breaks at every turn, random musicals and segments that changed in art design.
As charming as some of this was the first few times, people need to realize that grown men were paid thousands to pretend to know what children like and just dump it all on a screen.
It became far more juvenile toward the end, which decided to give a big middle finger and make that stupid excuse about how this “really intense action scene is so intense, we cannot show it.”
The thematic qualities of how creativity and laughter bring people together was there, but took the backseat until it became the big Deus ex Machina in the last half of the film.
What’s worse is how the title of the film should have been changed to George and Harold, with some Captain Underpants.
Again, this would not have been a problem, especially since they are what gave the books that power fantasy for children.
However, there was not a single moment where the children in the audience thought that something was going to happen to these kids.
They would always be friends, they had full control of their principal and they had full control of where the story was headed.
There was almost no consequences for their actions, except for the ones that made no sense.
Is this the entertainment children deserve? Where happiness is just given to everyone?
This is not a film, it is a collection of references to books that featured toilet jokes, but were able to create fun and whimsical adventures that this single film failed to deliver.
Hearing the echo of laughter from children for 89 minutes was enough to drive anyone into insanity.
Of the 300 hundred jokes they tried to land in 20 minutes, only three were really funny.
Perhaps the voice work from the likes of Nick Kroll or even Helms really helped the comedic delivery, but hearing Hart pretending to be a grade school child was grating and almost fitting for him.
If Illumination and DreamWorks want to create a world of mindless children through average story-telling instead of understanding the basics of what makes a film a film, then so be it.
It could have been special, it could have been better than what shareholders wanted it to be, but alas the wedgie warrior will still keep that hope in his books.