HOLLYWOOD—Laughter, it’s an emotion I would argue most of us encounter at least 1-2 times a day. Laughter is good for the heart as it can take a person who is in a somewhat somber mood to a place where those worries no longer exist. A movie looking to prove that laughter and humor is indeed important in life is “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.”
Now this is a movie where one might question the level of humor presented to the audience and rather the film caters to all kids. I would say yes, but parents should have an edge of caution if they are worried about their kids picking up any pouty language because of the movie. Now, that pouty language is not expletives, but terminology that you may not want your 3 or 4 year-old saying in just random settings.
The movie revolves around fourth graders George (voice of Kevin Hart) and Harold (voice of Thomas Middleditch), who have craft for humor and playing pranks on people. Their goal is to take their love of comics, humor and infuse a bit of that energy into Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, where the teachers are not always the nicest to the students.
That is an important element I think many viewers can identify with rather its grade school, middle school, high school or college. There are those teachers that we’ve all encountered, who no matter what they just seem to have an evil/wicked side that never lightens up. They live by that motto that misery loves company, so that means if they plan to ensure everyone else’s spirits take a nosedive.
George and Harold encounter that negativity quite often courtesy of Principal Benjamin ‘Benny’ Krupp (voice of Ed Helms). When one of George and Harold’s pranks goes terribly wrong, Principal Krupp decides to separate George and Harold in hopes of breaking up their friendship. As expected, that only leads to the boys taking extreme steps to halt Principal Krupp by hypnotizing him to begin Captain Underpants. That’s right a superhero who wears a cape and fights crime only in his underpants. It’s really hilarious if you think about it as most superheroes actually indulge in that practice. They might have a costume on, but underneath that costume is nothing, but there underpants.
This is the turning point in the animated flick in my opinion, as that serious themed element that appears prevalent in the first act of the movie falls to the background and the comedy begins to propel itself with the introduction of villainous duo Melvin Sneedly (voice of Jordan Peele) and Professor Pee-Pee Diarrheastein Poopypants (voice of Nick Kroll). Yes, I know you guys might think I’m lying, but no that really is his name and that pun is the reason Professor Poopypants makes it his goal to stop all laughter and humor and turn the world into emotionless zombies.
Kroll’s character alone is hilarious, and having the school tattletale Melvin by his side, presents formidable foes for Captain Underpants, Harold and George. As a spectator if you take a step back, while laughter is an important theme of the movie, its stresses the importance of people feeling like they belong. Loneliness is a thing that many adults grapple with and even some kids, so for one to be invited to be part of the ‘group’ or to have someone that can identify with their struggles makes life not seem so hopeless.
I laughed a lot watching this movie, and “Captain Underpants” took me back to a time in my childhood where things weren’t so serious. Where the thought of laughing was good for one’s emotional state of mind and just lightens the mood of a day that may not be going as one planned.