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You gotta love a movie that calls itself “Antboy.” Unless, alas, you also have to sit through this Danish, dubbed-in-English kiddie movie.

Ready-for-anything Oscar Dietz does what he can with the title role: a geeky 12-year-old schoolboy who has a tough time impressing girls. His real name is Pelle, but he starts calling himself Antboy after he’s bitten by a super-ant that gives him unusual powers.

Suddenly he’s climbing walls, threatening bullies, delivering punches and performing other superhero stunts. When a girl is kidnapped, a slimy monster known as “The Flea” invites a masked intervention.

Based on a Danish comic-book series by Kenneth Bøgh Andersen, “Antboy” owes a lot to Batman and Spider-Man — especially the hero’s facial camouflage and the cheesy “Pow” and “Zap” lettering that fills whole frames.

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A few unfamiliar touches suggest where the movie might have gone. When Pelle’s school puts on a play, it’s a musical called “Antboy.” The relationship between Pelle and his secretive best friend, Wilhelm (Samuel Ting Graf), also generates a few surprises.

But the special effects are hopelessly low-rent, especially if you’ve seen the “Spider-Man” movies and you’re familiar with their gravity-defying magic. The kids do seem to be having a good time playacting in what appear to be their own backyards.

John Hartl:

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