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  Publicity Stills of "Underdog"
(Courtesy from BVI)

Genre: Comedy/Adventure/Family
Director: Frederik Du Chau
Cast: Jason Lee, Jim Belushi, Peter Dinklage, John Slattery, Patrick Warburton, Brad Garrett, Amy Adams
RunTime: 1 hr 24 mins
Released By: BVI
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.disney.com/underdog

Opening Day: 20 September 2007


“There’s no need to fear. Underdog is here!” The superhero canine with a gift for rhyme returns in an all new live-action re-imagination of the classic cartoon, UNDERDOG.

After an accident in the mysterious lab of maniacal scientist Dr. Simon Barsinister (PETER DINKLAGE), an ordinary beagle unexpectedly finds himself with unimaginable powers and the ability to speak. Armed with a fetching superhero costume, UNDERDOG (voiced by comedian JASON LEE) vows to protect the beleaguered citizens of Capitol City and, in particular, one beautiful spaniel named Polly Purebread (voiced by Academy Award® nominee AMY ADAMS). When a sinister plot by Barsinister and his overgrown henchman Cad (PATRICK WARBURTON) threatens to destroy Capitol City only UNDERDOG can save the day..

Movie Review:

As much as this reviewer has been known to be kind to all sorts of senselessly bad movies, there are still some flicks which obviously scream out loud with the words ‘slam me’. This kiddie picture is definitely one of them.

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures with the intention of pleasing and entertaining toddlers below 10, the plot follows a dog that becomes involved in a freak laboratory accident and gains superpowers. Together with his new owner, the canine hero saves the world from destruction and evil.

This story would have worked well in a cartoon series in the 1960s (viewers who have the intention to step into the cinema for this can catch a glimpse of the original series at the start of the movie), but translate the silly narrative to a live-action big screen outing and you’d get a mess that even toddlers would find dreary.

It doesn’t help that the animatronics are not impressive enough to leave the audiences awed with technology. Just how amused would you be with a talking dog that wears a ridiculous sweater and flies with a blue cape? And we don’t think that dogs talking to each other would amuse very much either.

Jason Lee (Monster House, The Incredibles) does a fairly unexciting job of voicing the animal superhero, while the uncharismatic Alex Neuberger (Running Scared) plays his master. Meanwhile, Peter Dinklage (Death at a Funeral, Find Me Guilty) resorts to the usual baddie-gets-dirtily-humiliated tactics to milk some laughs.

To be fair, there are a few chuckle-worthy moments where smart one-liners are spouted. And the movie directed by Frederik Du Chau (Racing Stripes) only lasts for 84 minutes. That helps to shorten the boredom adults have to go through with the young ones.

The movie may be harmless, but the minute-by-minute predictable storyline and the unfunny sense of humor littered throughout the flick will mean that even toddlers will find the flick routinely lackluster.

Movie Rating:

(As if being messy like dog litter isn’t enough, the movie is doggone unfunny too)

Review by John Li

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