Underdog (2007) mini review

superhero film not based on a comic

In the classic superhero tradition, a failed police dog ends up in the hands of mad scientist Dr. Simon Barsinister, and in an accident with some experimental chemicals, he becomes the rhyming canine superhero, Underdog!

Well, it's not Oscar material, and it's not the pinnacle of filmmaking, even if you consider that it's based on a 60's cartoon, but it is a lot of fun. Several laugh out loud moments and a number of references to the old 'toon serve to make an enjoyable family film. Of course, the ending was completely anti-climactic, with a bunch of sappiness to top it off, so that was a bit disappointing.

Jason Lee (Chasing Amy, The Incredibles), is a decent Underdog, and Peter Dinklage (from the amazing non-comic movie, The Station Agent) plays a wonderful Barsinister. Though I'm not normally a fan of the live action stuff we've seen from Patrick Warburton (The Tick live action series, Men In Black II; also voicing a police detective on The Batman and the voice of Royal Pain in Sky High), he plays a pretty good part as Barsinister's lackey. Jack, the boy who befriends Underdog is could have been better, and even Jim Belushi (who actually did a voice for The Tick cartoon) should have done a better job. Amy Adams (from an early episode of Smallville) plays Polly Purebred, Underdog's love interest; Jim Garret (who's had voice parts in Justice League, Superman: The Animated Series, the '05 Fantastic Four cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series, The Tick, and even played a part in Lois & Clark) voices Riffraff.

On a side note, one of the screenwriters (Adam Rifkin) happened to also work on the comic movie Zoom.

See it if you want to take the kids to an enjoyable superhero film.

Don't see it if you won't take it for what it is - a goofy family movie based on a goofy 60's cartoon.


Bones said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing this one with my son. He loves the trailer, and I love Jason Lee, so it's a win/win.

Jim said...

Yeah - it's definitely good for a fun family afternoon. Let me know how you like it!