BRIEF thoughts: 2017 CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS adaptation

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is crisp, cartoony animation that somehow tickles you into making a doofy smile, without making you feel like a doof.

So to… debrief you, the Dreamworks production of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is over-saturated with gags, with many source material contents (about the first four books) tightly compressed. The plot zig-zags like a pinball without inertia trying to score everything all at once, and it has little breathing space to process some of the gags. It’s a succession of ludicrous plot turns as vehicles for rapid sight gags, juvenile comedy, toilet humor, clearly compiled for fans of the Dav Pilkey books, though any parent who hasn’t read the books, which had surfaced on Banned Books List, but forced to tag along with their children at the theater, will go, “Huh?”

But there’s something to be said about an adaptation that shamelessly hurls every joke-firecracker at you, with the plot on speedy Mad-Libs, and celebrates its unstructured imagination, like doodles gone wild or a comedian that doesn’t pause to give their audience a breath. It doesn’t feel like it sinks into low-brow humor. It revels in it, complete with an orchestra of whoopie cushions. The zany, boneless plot is the lifeblood of this film, a wild escapism. Perhaps, bizarre, considering its source material, and deliberation in its breathless pacing, but I felt it could use more discipline in allowing its viewer to absorb the jokes and space to chuckle.

Otherwise, it’s still fun.

 

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