Complete A-Z list

Horrid Henry: The Movie (3D)


Stars: Theo Stevenson, Scarlett Stitt, Anjelica Huston, Parminder Nagra, Richard E Grant, Rebecca Front, Mathew Horne, Siobhan Hayes, Ross Marron, Kimberley Walsh, Prunella Scales, Jo Brand

Director: Nick Moore

Given the eponymous young ‘hero’ – zestfully played to the hilt and then some by Stevenson – is a kid given to farting to get rid of his younger brother, among plenty more other adult-unfriendly behavioral traits, it should be obvious that this happily unsophisticated film of the multimillion-selling children’s books is aimed at youngsters, not their parents. Accompanying adults should perhaps take a flashlight and a good book – and, possibly, ear plugs to cancel out the raucous on-screen happenings and, probably, equally raucous off-screen laughter.

Director Moore and Lucinda Whiteley, who adapted novelist Francesca Simons’ creations for the screen, understand their target audience perfectly. The corn is higher than an elephant’s eye, the slapstick is frequently eye-wateringly silly, juvenile jokes abound. And the plot – which finds Stevenson and his school pals foiling foul Grant who wants to close down their school – serves well as a framework for the gags which include Henry in drag in a girls’ school that makes St Trinian’s resemble a convent by comparison. The secondary storyline charts Stevenson and friends’ efforts to win a talent contest as the Zero Zombies and ending up on a TV show ‘Too Cool for School’, hosted by Dick and Dom, that is genuinely nauseating enough to actually appear on commercial television in Britain.

The characters are deliberately cartoonish and played as such to good effect, with Grant riffing on a pantomime Demon King. Huston, with an accent that veers from Scottish to eternity, is splendidly hag-like, Nagra is charming and well into the childish swing of things, Scales sports facial whiskers and drives a Rolls Royce as Stevenson’s rich aunt and the young actors clearly enjoy themselves immensely. Ditto George (10) and Felix (6) who both awarded ‘Horrid Henry’ 9/10.

"Horrid Henry' is filmed in 3D: adequate but unnecessary.

Parental warning: the sight of Jo Brand as a demonic dinner lady may be too intense for younger audiences.

Alan Frank

Britain 2011. UK Distributor: Vertigo Films. Colour.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 29 Jul 2011