Thursday, March 28, 2013

Movie Review: Underdog (2007)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Special effects, acting by the villains
Cons: Not really that memorable
The Bottom Line:
Some more mindless fun
Not really memorable
But good while watching

"There's No Need to Fear!  Underdog is Here!"

There's nothing new under the sun. And if you want proof of that, just look at this summer's movie line up. We've have a huge number of threequels, and they were based on books or comics or even theme park rides. Then comes Underdog. It's a live action version of a 60's TV show.

Underdog is the story of your average police beagle. He's supposed to be trained to sniff out bombs, but he's, well, bombed out at that job. Dejected after his most recent failure (hams and bombs smell alike, right?), he sets out alone on the streets.

He's quickly picked up by Cad (Patrick Warburton) and taken to the lab of the mad Dr. Barsinister (Peter Dinklage). When the bad doc tries to inject him with something, he starts running around the lab, accidentally knocking over a shelf full of bottles. From these comes his super powers of speech, speed, strength, flying, you name it.

Underdog manages to get himself adopted by a recently widowed father (Jim Belushi) with a bitter son (Alex Neuberger). But Dr. Barsinister is continuing his evil scheme. Will he find Underdog? Can a small dog stop the mad scientist?

Before I go any further, I should mention the fact that I have never seen any of the original cartoons. So I have nothing to compare it to.

Having said that, I still found it to be an average film. The story was fairly predictable. Yet I did find it entertaining enough to hold my interest. I have a feeling that the kids it was aimed at will find it more entertaining then I did.

It was also fairly funny, with several great one-liners. Unfortunately, there was lots of bathroom humor as well, which I didn't find as funny. The funniest bits were in the previews, but they were equally as funny in the context of the film.

The special effects were certainly up to par. Only once did I see something that looked fake to me. And considering we've got a talking, flying, super fast dog, that's quite a feet.

With two exceptions, the acting was fairly middle of the road. Don't get me wrong, the acting wasn't bad. It just wasn't that exciting, either. The exceptions? Patrick Warburton's bumbling sidekick and Peter Dinklage's villain. The two played their characters slightly over the top, and the result was perfect. They were fun to love to hate. They never seemed too sinister to me, although a couple scenes in the lab might be frightening for young children.

Underdog isn't anything special, but it's mildly entertaining. Adults won't find it worth seeing without a kids present, but they will be able to tolerate it when they do. Kids will enjoy the humor and special effects and won't care how predictable the story is.

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