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Tighten Those Whiteys, Here’s the First Look at ‘Captain Underpants’

Scholastic Inc.

A longtime boon to children looking to placate mothers who wish they’d read more, the Captain Underpants series of chapter books was the pinnacle of toilet humor to kids in the ’90s and early ’00s. Over 12 books and three spin-offs, author Dav Pilkey generated gaggles of giggles with the superheroic adventures of a crimefighter clad only in a red cape and tightened whiteys, who used a plunger in his unending battle against bathroom-appropriate crime. Such nefarious villains as Doctor Diaper, the Turbo Toilet 2000, and Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants (a phrase I like to imagine executives at 20th Century Fox saying out loud, usually while seated at a long conference table) all crossed paths with the minimally-clothed defender of truth, justice, and excretive freedoms.

Fox and DreamWorks Animation have been hard at work on a long-gestating animated feature springing from the series of kiddie books, and Entertainment Weekly has the first official photo from the film due June 2 of next year. Turbo director David Soren took the reins on the project, which casts the vocal talents of Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch as a pair of fourth-grade cutups named George Beard and Harold Hutchins. The boys use their surprisingly advanced skill at hypnosis to mesmerize their principal into assuming the alternate identity of Captain Underpants, who will be voiced by none other than Ed Helms. Together, they stand tall against evil, and presumably, skid marks.

The greater joke of the supposedly mighty Captain Underpants is that he doesn’t actually have any powers; he’s really just some guy who strips down to his skivvies and pretends he can fly. Helms’ experience as the resolutely clueless boss on the later season of The Office should prepare him for both the authority and buffoonery that define the character. Parents may cringe at the poop jokes, but you can bet your last pair of briefs that kids will be lining up for this one in droves.

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