My stepfather has a term for the sort of films that are aimed at our inner idiot adolescent boy: “jerk gene movies.” David Soren’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, with its literal toilet humor and multiracial, fourth-wall busting prankster heroes (voiced by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch), wants to be your child’s first jerk gene movie experience. And believe me, you could do infinitely worse! Drop Dead Fred worse. The Garbage Pail Kids Movie worse. The Dukes of Hazzard remake starring Johnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson worse. You get the idea.
Best bros George and Harold first bonded in first grade over the inherent hilarity of a planet named Uranus, but their egg-shaped principal (Ed Helms) seeks to tear their friendship apart. When a plastic hypno-ring places the principal in their powers, George and Harold convince him that he’s the underwear-clad superhero from their comic books, while the appearance of a mysterious evil scientist threatens their very way of life.
To put it in perspective, Captain Underpants soars well above the Van Wilder jerk gene basement and The Hangover low bar, reaching roughly Superbad levels of jerk gene hilarity, while still falling well short of a full Airplane!. Captain Underpants bursts with anarchic energy and a try-anything sense of humor — I still laugh out loud every time I remember the villain voiced by Nick Kroll revealing his full name as Professor P. P. Diahrreastein Poopypants.
Oh, did I mention that the jerk gene is dominant, immutable, and incurable?