Horrid Henry and his Purple Hand Gang find themselves up against evil headmaster Richard E Grant when he tries to have their school closed down. Theo Stevenson - who had a blink-and-miss-it role in In Bruges - plays novelist Francesca Simon's indefatigably rotten schoolboy while a roll call of talent - Anjelica Huston, Rebecca Front and Jo Brand - fill knockabout supporting roles. Slapstick fun which will appeal to young fans of the books.
Richard E Grant
The scurrilous schoolboy with a penchant for stink bombs, teacher-terrorising and brother-baiting makes the leap to the big screen with a satisfyingly slapstick thump.
The bedtime favourite of thousands of pre-teens, Horrid Henry's combination of truculence and mischief-making has struck just the right rebellious note with a legion of nippers battling against lights-out.
Fans of his first foray into film will not be disappointed. Director Nick Moore (Wild Child) has ramped up the cartoon quality of the books (16m sales to date) to fashion the cinema equivalent of a Christmas panto.
Shrewd casting gives the likes of Anjelica Huston (deranged Scottish spinster Miss Battleaxe), Rebecca Front (hyper anxious headmistress Miss Oddbod) and Richard E Grant (scheming private school headmaster Vic Van Wrinkle) free range to uleash an arsenal of tics and grimaces.
Theo Stevenson is impressive as Henry, a pocket monster with an ingrained loathing of homework, girls and responsibility who finds himself with the fate of his school in his reluctant hands.
There's not much for mums and dads - this doesn't attempt any cute Pixar-style adult-pitched gags - but younger audiences will revel in the mischievous manipulations of a negative role model.