Written by Adam Rifkin and Joe Piscatella
& Craig A. Williams
Directed by Frederik Du Chau
Running Time: 1:22
for rude humor, mild language and action.
Underdog is a movie for kids, and adults with kids... the adults just won't enjoy it.
Once a police pup, Shoeshine is taken into the labratory of Dr. Simon Barsinister where he is showered in animal and human DNA, turning him into a super dog. Shoeshine escapes and is picked up by Dan Unger and his son Jack. Jack discovers Shoeshine can speak and do other amazing things and together they come up with the super persona of Underdog. Underdog flies around the city protecting the innocent and saving lives. Meanwhile, Dr. Barsinister and his henchman Cad are determined to get Shoeshine back so they can extract his DNA and inject it into other dogs to take over the city. But have no fear, Underdog is here!
Underdog is not a movie meant for adults. There are films that look like kids films that adults will watch because some 'adult' humor will be slipped in. Or it'll have pop culture references that kids won't understand. Underdog on the other hand is a Disney film made strictly for kids. It's a movie about a talking dog who flies around out of control and crashes into things. What's not to like... for a child? Adults on the other hand... the acting is flimsy and the plot is ridiculous. It does appear to try and stick to the cartoon as much as possible although I don't recall the dogs having owners. The one character that I really did enjoy was Simon Barsinister. At first I thought Peter Dinklage was just horribly overacting, but as it went on I realized that he was taking the cartoon character to extremes and it was pretty funny. When he goes into his 'Simon says' routine, that's when the full effect of the performance hit me. Patrick Warburton, who plays Cad the evil sidekick, can usually be counted on for his deadpan humor. It's everyone else that didn't step up to the plate. I'm not quite sure why Jim Belushi was in the film since he had almost nothing to do.
Jason Lee does the voice of the titular superhero. He's got a good voice for this kind of thing, but in the cartoon, Underdog was a little stupider sounding. Lee plays him more like a happy-go-lucky puppy, which is fine, but if they're trying to recreate the cartoon, he should have sounded dumber. I maen, they had a lot of the characters show up (including Polly Purebread) and the plot could have been animated as ridiculous as it was. So why not go all out? But again, I have to remember that this film wasn't made for those of us who watched the cartoons back in the day, it was made for the modern day child. I will admit to having a couple of chuckles during the film, but then again I often have been told I have the mentality of a kid. I often enjoy talking animal movies because they can be cute and this one had a couple of those kinds of scenes (although the blooper reel had more of them) but all in all it was kind of weak for a modern Disney film.
The DVD had a few extras that were interesting. There was a blooper reel, some deleted scenes, a 'diary' from Shoeshine and a music video with a rap version of the Underdog theme, which could also be heard throughout the movie. The highlight of the DVD however was an original episode of the TV show. If you thought the movie was cheesy, wait till you see what it was based on. This episode didn't feature any of the original bad guys, but just showed how sad Underdog could be at times. It wasn't the best episode they could have featured, but it did make me want to see some of the other classic episodes, many of which are now available on DVD.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I thought Underdog was a good kids flick, but not something a normal adult would want to sit through. It's cute at times, but everything about it is extremely cheesy and over the top. But there's no question young kids will enjoy it.
Netflix DVD Rentals. Only $4.99 a month. NO LATE FEES; Free Shipping. Try for FREE!