"Needs More Panache"
What You Need To Know:
This live-action version is not great, but it provides plenty of good fun for younger families and young children. In fact, UNDERDOG would be good to introduce younger children to the joys of seeing a movie on the big screen. Fans of the series may miss some of the comic panache of the original series, which excelled at spoofing comic-book superheroes. The movie’s strong, positive moral messages are slightly diminished when Underdog uses his super powers to steal a woman’s doggy bag outside a restaurant.
(BB, Pa, FR, L, V, N, M) Strong moral worldview about serving others by using one’s gifts to fight evil marred by a scene where the superhero steals a woman’s doggy bag as she’s leaving a restaurant, plus conceited henchman says he treats his body “like a Buddhist temple”; one butt, and one light exclamatory profanity, and light, brief toilet humor about dog behavior; light comic violence such as flying dog superhero punches criminals, dog with super powers unintentionally wrecks living room and sends chili flying in kitchen, villain ties up man and threatens him, explosion, and comic pratfalls; no sex; male dog nudity visible; no alcohol; no smoking; and, hero steals doggy bag from woman leaving restaurant, villain’s henchman tries to rob jewelry store, and villain blackmails city.
UNDERDOG is a live-action movie based on the old TV cartoon series. The movie falls a little short because it is too serious and lacks the funny cartoon voices that made the series enjoyable to watch. A comedy like this cries out for wacky, funny, unique-sounding comedic voices spoofing the superhero genre. Among the cast, Patrick Warburton is the most successful at developing a truly unique comical character.
In the story, a beagle tries to be a good bomb-sniffing police dog, but he’s always making mistakes. The beagle wanders off and gets nabbed by Cad, the overgrown henchman of the evil scientist, Simon Barsinister. In the lab, the beagle is splashed accidentally with a special serum developed by Barsinister. The dog escapes outside, where he is found by the building’s security guard, Dan Unger. Naming the dog Shoeshine, Dan takes the dog home for his son, Jack, who’s having trouble in school because he’s still mourning his mother’s death.
At about the same time, Jack and Shoeshine discover that Barsinister’s serum has given Shoeshine super powers, including the ability to talk like humans. Jack encourages Shoeshine to use his super powers to help people. And so, the superhero Underdog is born.
Underdog vows to protect the citizens of Capitol City – “There’s no need to fear; Underdog is here!” – especially a beautiful Spaniel named Polly Purebred. When Barsinister threatens to destroy the city and kidnaps Dan, only Underdog and Jack can save the day.
The script for this live-action version is not great, but it does provide plenty of good, wholesome fun for younger families and young children. In fact, UNDERDOG would be a good movie to introduce younger children to the joys of seeing a movie on the big screen at a nice theater. Fans of the original series, however, may miss some of the comic panache of the original series, which excelled at spoofing comic-book superheroes. The movie’s strong, positive moral messages are slightly diminished when Underdog uses his super powers to steal a woman’s doggy bag as she’s leaving a restaurant.