Plot: When a beagle (Jason Lee, voice) is exposed to an experiment gone wrong under the vile Dr. Simon Barsinister (Peter Dinklage), he is endowed with super powers. While living with a former cop (Jim Belushi) and his son Jack (Alex Neuberger), Jack is the only person privy to the dog’s powers and convinces him to become the superhero ‘Underdog.’ Barsinister wants the dog captured so he can replicate his power for his own evil purposes.
What am I supposed to say! It’s fricking Underdog! To be honest, when I started doing this whole ‘Superhero Movies on Steroids’ series and saw Underdog on the list, I seriously considered skipping it. But I didn’t want to wimp out. As it turns out, this movie actually wasn’t that rough. It’s certainly not good, but I’ve seen worse. The beginning did annoy me a great deal though. As Underdog’s voiceover begins, we are treated to clips from the animated series. This pissed me off because it’s basically telling the audience, ‘Yup, this was a famous property and we adapted it.’ It just rubbed me the wrong way when you have the movie flat out telling you it’s based on an old show. What else sucked? Well how about Jason Lee as the voice of Underdog. Look, I’ve never been a big Jason Lee fan, but he read his lines like he was in a rush. It was as though he had something in the oven and had to finish before his food burnt. He just spouts one bad joke after another, which I guess isn’t his fault. The dog voices in general really suck. I guess Amy Adams was passable as the dog love interest. As far as the human acting goes, Jim Belushi blows bags, as does Alex Neuberger who plays his son Jack. There’s a lot of clichés to endure as Underdog sees Polly the female dog for the first time. She runs in slow motion as a cheesy song plays. They shouldn’t have done a score. It’s generic television music 101. It also doesn’t help when they re-mix the Underdog theme about 20 times throughout the course of the film. And they all sucked. I also detest the Superman knock-offs such as standing on the side of the building to stop a jewel thief, romantic flights, space shots, and of course flying around the world. The one saving grace is Patrick Warburton as Cad, Barsinister’s dim-witted henchman. We of course know Warburton best as David Puddy from Seinfeld. Warburton just opening his mouth is hilarious. It was sad to see him wear a dress as he’s dragged across the street though. Ugh. But for all my bitching and complaining, this is actually a passable kid’s movie. Yea, there’s a lot of dog puns, but at least they stayed away from excessive poop and pee jokes. Underdog is completely forgettable, but not the worst thing in the world like I thought it would be.
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Barely Passable Entertainment)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: Patrick Warburton as Cad
-Like I said, he saves the movie. He’s given a lot of bad dialogue and comedic sequences, but at the very least, he always makes it tolerable. There’s a great moment where he talks to himself in the mirror. His best delivery though is probably ‘I’m looking for my beagle. He does tricks and stuff.’ It was a classic Puddy delivery.
Worst Performance: Jim Belushi as Dan Unger
-He just stinks. I have nothing else to say.
Best Line: “A three syllable word…I’m impressed.” –Simon to Cad
-This was a pretty funny line and well delivered. It sums up the Barsinister and Cad relationship perfectly. In fact, I enjoyed Peter Dinklage as Barsinister quite a bit.
Worst Line: “Houston, we have a beagle.” –Astronaut after seeing Underdog float in space
-I hate everything.
-The fight between Underdog and Barsinister at the end is fine. I like when Barsinister fakes him out by throwing a Frisbee, which Underdog can’t resist.
-There’s something about Jay Leno making a cameo as he does an unfunny Underdog reference in the Tonight Show monologue that really pissed me off.
-It’s the very beginning when Underdog screws up as a police dog, accidentally sniffing out ham. He has to take the walk of shame as the other dogs bark at him. That got me laughing pretty hard.
-Underdog tries on potential superhero costumes and it’s just pun city. Here are a couple examples: ‘Sherlock Bones’ and ‘Count Dogula.’ Enough said.
-Cad’s best moment is when there’s a close-up on his face. He looks really intense as he slowly moves, clinging to a wall for dear life. We are lead to believe he’s on a high ledge, but then the camera cuts to the full shot and he’s only one step off the ground. Its great comedic timing and acting by Warburton.
Bad Ass Moment:
-For all the terrible dog puns in the movie, I have to admit, when Underdog buries the bomb deep in the Earth like a dog would with a bone…that was kind of clever.