While young American readers follow the antics of Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid books and Beverly Cleary's Ramona novels, British youngsters seem equally dedicated to their own spunky young troublemaker in Francesca Simon's popular Horrid Henry series. Now this spirited English rascal (like his American counterparts) takes his antics to the big screen in “Horrid Henry: The Movie.”
Populated with a floridly named band of nemeses and sidekicks — Moody Margaret, Perfect Peter and the teacher Miss Battleaxe — the books follow the high jinks of the rebellious grade-schooler of the title as he leads a gang of pranksters called the Purple Hand Gang, defies rules of propriety and does battle with school authorities.
In the movie, Henry (Theo Stevenson) pulls one too many pranks and embarrasses his school during a big inspection. As a result, his stern teacher Miss Battleaxe (the estimable Anjelica Huston), with whom Henry has a love-hate relationship, gets fired and his school is put on probation.
So Henry winds up being sent off to a prissy, private all-girls school (his dotty, rich aunt believes he's a girl). Miserable there, Henry concedes to join forces with his rule-following brother Perfect Peter (Ross Marron), his archnemesis neighbor Moody Margaret (Scarlett Stitt) and sweet teacher Miss Lovely (Parminder Nagra) to rescue his old school and even save Miss Battleaxe's job.
“Horrid Henry: The Movie” is rated G and runs 93 minutes.
It's being released by Peace Arch Trinity.
— Dennis King