Horrid Henry (3D, like we care) is the first big-screen adaptation of Francesca Simon’s bestselling children’s books, and if you would like to save yourself a trip to the cinema you can recreate the experience at home by tuning into some super-noisy, busy, brightly coloured Saturday-morning kids’ TV programme while simultaneously bashing your head between a pair of cymbals and wishing you were dead.
This film is an agony from beginning to end. The plot is a chaotic mishmash of several others via a number of nonsensical detours, plus all the characters, without exception, are appallingly drawn. There is not a scintilla of truth in any of them. Not a sniff. You may say an adult would think this, but I attended the screening along with my two nephews — Fred, nine, and Harry, 12 — and they both declared it abysmal before, of course, they strongarmed me into Nando’s where, as it happens, we fast became engaged in a lively discussion about the issues of the day. Only kidding. They strongarmed me into Nando’s and then quickly had my phone off me and found a game I didn’t even know I had. Young kids are pretty savvy, not that you’d know it from this.
OK, Henry (Theo Stevenson) is a naughty boy who hates school, doesn’t do his homework and torments his younger brother, as well as all girls. I’d put his age at around ten and, I’m assuming, he’s meant to be a lovable scally but the part is written so badly, with such zero attention to lovability, he isn’t even likable. He is a charmless, annoying brat. ‘I’d punch him,’ said Harry. ‘Me, too,’ said Fred. ‘Join the queue,’ I added, perhaps unnecessarily.
Now, Henry must win the day on various counts.