Want to know what’s chillier than the vibes between Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer? The sight of an auditorium full of kids sitting in utter silence through a movie that should have them laughing and chortling on their popcorn.
Such was my experience watching Horrid Henry last night at a screener in Beverly Hills. Look, I get it: kids movies are for kids, and adults shouldn’t be looking to analyze Barney and Pikachu through the lens of Citizen Kane. But when the kids themselves are sitting there in utter dejection, wondering when the misery will end, well, then I can’t say I have too much pity for the filmmakers that are about to get a thwacking from the bubblegum crowd.
This movie was made for two reasons: one, its makers wanted to cash in on the craze of literary sensation Horrid Henry, a bratty British boy bearing the behavior of a baboon (repeat that three times fast). Two, the makers apparently think that because the world is left with a giant Harry Potter-sized hole in its collective conscience, that it is craving another story about a misfit tween who must put up with the stupidity of the adult world. Somewhere, I hope J.K. Rowling is smiling wryly.
Henry is a put upon little boy whose teachers, headmasters, and classmates think is certifiably insane. Since this is a movie set in a school, he must naturally stand up to the bullies and win a talent competition. If this is at all rousing to you, I suggest you are late for kindergarten.