Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2017. DreamWorks Animation, Scholastic Productions. Screenplay by Nicholas Stoller, based on the epic novels by Dav Pilkey, additional screenplay material by David Soren. Produced by Mireille Soria, Mark Swift. Music by Theodore Shapiro. Production Design by Nate Wragg. Film Editing by Matt Landon.
Dav Pilkey’s popular children’s books are brought to the big screen with their winsome humour and charming sass fully intact. Harold and George, voiced with joyful appeal by Thomas Middleditch and Kevin Hart, are best friends thanks to their shared love of practical jokes and the comic book adventures they write together, about a superhero who goes everywhere in cape and underwear (for maximum comfort and to suit their own brand of silliness, of course). Their pranks also make them the bane of their grumpy principal’s existence, who threatens to tear their world apart when he decides that they will be placed in separate classes, effectively ending their friendship forever. Thankfully these boys are capable of thinking quickly on their feet, hypnotizing their principal (voiced by a wonderfully versatile Ed Helms) and, having him completely under their control, convincing him that he is Captain Underpants himself. The trouble this gets these two into is endlessly fun, reaching a new level of danger when the insecure and vengeful Professor P (Nick Kroll) shows up with some very sinister ideas of how to keep children in line. Smart and superbly written, this delightful film has a touching affection for the friendship between its heroes that makes the whole thing so very endearing, while the quality of animation is consistently excellent.