Note: I give a letter grade for artistry; this is not necessarily a moral endorsement of the film. I outline content in as much detail as I can to help families make their own decisions. I include Gospel discussion points in case parents or others want to use cinema as a launching pad to share eternal principles.
WHAT’S CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS ABOUT?
Two boys hypnotize their surly principal into acting like a made-up superhero. Based on the popular book series.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: B)
For its first 20 minutes, Captain Underpants is exceptional. High-spirited and surprisingly witty, the film brilliantly captures and spoofs elementary school life. The setup is brilliant and the relationships are well-realized. Once the titular Captain Underpants makes his first appearance, the movie takes a slight dip in quality as an overreliance on superhero clichés, hyper storytelling, and potty humor sets in. To be clear, it’s still funny and continues to have marvelous moments, but a tad of the sheen is lost. No matter, kids will love it (mine did) adults will enjoy it (I did), and it’s a fine way to beat the summer heat.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?
Captain Underpants is rated PG. There are jokes about diarrhea, urination, and “poopy pants.” A grown man is seen in nothing but underwear and a cape (his appearance is comical and not at all sexualized). There is an abundance of slapstick humor and comical violence. There is a misuse of God’s name. A boy tells his friend that “like-liking” someone usually doesn’t last after marriage.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
Lead image from IMDb
For more of Jonathan’s movie reviews, along with his relationship tips as a licensed marriage and family therapist, please visit www.yourfamilyexpert.com. For can’t-miss movies that adhere to Mormon standards, check out his book 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families. You can see Jonathan at this year’s BYU’s Education Week, where he’ll be presenting on “Stepfamilies and Adoption in the Gospel” August 22-25.