Rated PG 80 minutes 2007

The makings of a decent franchise are present in this live-action update of the classic cartoon. A beagle (voiced by Jason Lee) gains superpowers as the result of experiments by a mad scientist (Peter Dinklage), and the dog becomes a superhero. He also gets a new home when a security guard (James Belushi) happens upon him in an alley and takes him home to his son, Jack (Alex Neuberger). Too bad Neuberger lacks charisma and drags the proceedings down, while Belushi looks miserable. The dog is cute, and some of his flying scenes are fun, but the good moments are done in by Dinklage’s overacting as the mad scientist. The guy is normally a great actor, but he’s buried in burn makeup and forced to growl most of his lines. The film starts out well, but it falls apart quickly, becoming too noisy and unpleasant for something that’s supposed to be a good time. If they should continue with sequels, they should jettison the foul Dinklage character.

Film Credits

Official Site: disney.go.com/disneypictures/underdog

Director: Frederik Du Chau

Writer: Adam Rifkin, Joe Piscatella and Craig Williams

Producer: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jay Polstein, Jonathan Glickman, Eric Ellenbogen, Bob Higgins and Todd Arnow

Cast: Jason Lee, Jim Belushi, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Warburton, Alex Neuberger, Brad Garrett, Amy Adams, Taylor Momsen and John Slattery

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