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  Underdog

Starring: Alex Neuberger, Jason Lee, Peter Dinklage, Jim Beluschi, Amy Adams

Directed by: Frederik du Chau

Produced by: Jay Polstein, Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Jonathan Glickman

Written by: Adam Rifkin, Joe Piscatella, Craig A. Williams

Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures

 

     Tired and conventional as it may be, Underdog is a movie that I kind of admire. While it is essentially a cable-quality kidsí flick blown up for the big screen to rake in box-office dollars, the picture has an audience for which it will do nothing but good things. In nearly every respect, Underdog is unoriginal, but itís also entirely harmless. Parents who take their children will be happy to have found such a wholesome entertainment, and they will usually find it perky enough to enjoy for themselves as well.

     But Iím not just praising Underdog for brilliantly marketing itself towards the six-year-olds of America. Lots of releases regularly do just this and I find them thoroughly insufferable as such (the recent Are We Done Yet? and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spring instantly to mind as proof). What separates this feature from a wasteland of others is the fact that itís actually a good movie for its target audience to be watching. Underdogís themes are inspiring enough for children, and there isnít a bit of off-color language or innuendo to be found in its contents.

     With the aforementioned being said, I should also note that the movie is also rather amusing on its own. Jason Lee voices Underdog, the famous once-cartoon-character Beagle who mistakenly gains extraordinary abilities when his DNA is tampered with by a mad-scientist (played wonderfully here by a hilariously out-of-place by Peter Dinklage) at an animal lab. As Underdog uses his incredible powers to save Washington D.C. from evil alongside new owner Jack (Alex Neuberger), the movie is effortlessly enjoyable. Leeís sardonic voice-work spices up the rather boringly written comedy and the fast pace created by director Frederik du Chau makes the viewer forget how clichťd the filmís plot is.

     There isnít much to Underdog, but it works for what it is. The film doesnít have any ambitions outside of that of entertaining its intended audience, but it shouldnít need to. Itís a picture of modest intentions, and it fulfills these in all the ways that a viewer might want.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 8.12.2007

Screened on: 8.11.2007 at MovieMax in Carlsbad, CA.

 

Underdog is rated PG and runs 84 minutes.


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