Jon Espino reviews “Captain Underpants” and “Everything, Everything” for Hollywood Chicago

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CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE

I’m sure from the title you can glean the level of seriousness to expect, but how funny “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” turns out to be is no laughing matter. The film’s surprising irreverence and respect for the comic book genre makes this the animated hero we’ve needed, and the second best superhero film out this weekend (SEE: Wonder Woman).

For obvious reasons, most animated films like this one are aimed at children, but only the truly impressive ones incorporate aspects for adults, realizing that they will be the ones who have to sit through the film with their children. The general humor in the film caters to young boys, with enough potty humor to clog a toilet with. Nicholas Stoller adapts David Pilkey’s popular book series enough care to stay faithful to the series’ superhero essence while creating an original story with it. Even though the humor may seem low-brow, the film’s self-awareness keeps the adults from faulting it too much for that. Stoller shows he understands the source material and the comedy, which he has shown us in the past by writing films like the two most recent “Muppets” films and “Neighbors 2”. Instead of focusing mostly on Captain Underpants and his origins, Stoller decides to emphasize the much more relatable buddy tale of George and Harold, which keeps this film from turning into a typical superhero origin story we’ve seen so many times before.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the target audience for these stock young adult romance novels. Aside from the odd fascination and romanticization of teenage death and terminal illness, these stories feel trite and much closer to fantasy than anything real or plausible. This is what the film “Everything, Everything” brings to the table, which essentially translates to Nothing, Nothing.

I am patient and empathetic. I always try to understand another person’s point of view or outlook especially when it doesn’t mirror my own. Going into every film with an open mind is the only way to truly open yourself to the experience it is trying to impart. I didn’t know anything when going into “Everything, Everything” but it soon became clear that I actually knew exactly how the story was going to progress after the first ten minutes. This trite tale offers little in the way of surprises and even less when it comes to the almost forced, unrealistic romance it tries to pass off as commonplace.

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