Underdog (U)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner31/01/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 82 mins

Average children's comedy with decent effects and a couple of good performances but this is only likely to appeal to kids, dog-lovers and fans of the cartoon.

What's it all about?
Shoeshine (voiced by Jason Lee) is a hapless beagle who gains incredible powers and the ability to speak after an accident in the lab of maniacal scientist Doctor Barsinister (Peter Dinklage). He soon reveals his identity and his superpowers to the young boy (Alex Neuberger) who becomes his owner after his father (Jim Belushi, typecast again) brings Shoeshine home.

Fashioning a costume out of an old jersey and a blanket, Shoeshine renames himself Underdog and dedicates himself to fighting crime, discovering a penchant for rhyme along the way. And when he uncovers a plot by Barsinister to destroy Capitol City, Underdog springs into action, with his rhyming battle cry, There's no need to fear – Underdog is here!

The Good
Jason Lee (an old hand at voiceover work after all the narration on My Name Is Earl) delivers an enjoyable vocal performance as Underdog and there's strong comic support from Peter Dinklage and Patrick Warburton as his dim-witted henchman, Cad. However, Amy Adams is largely wasted as the voice of Polly Purebread (Underdog's Spaniel crush), and should have been given more to do.

The effects work is decent, even if you won't quite believe a dog can fly. However, the combination of dog-wrangling and CGI is largely seamless and occasionally impressive.

The Bad
The main problem is the script – the story itself is rather dull and completely lacks any emotional impact (see last year's extremely similar Firehouse Dog for a lesson in expert emotional manipulation). Similarly, several of the jokes fall flat and the film never manages to deliver any big laughs.

Worth seeing?
In short, Underdog is just about watchable if you need to keep undemanding kids occupied for 80 minutes, but it's nowhere near as clever or as funny as it should have been. Rent the excellent Firehouse Dog instead.

Film Trailer

Underdog (U)
Underdog has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 19/10/2017 11:56

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