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"UNDERDOG"
(2007) (voice of Jason Lee, Alex Neuberger) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Mild Heavy *Moderate Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Heavy None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
*Minor None Moderate Moderate *Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy/Action: Accidentally imbued with super canine powers, a beagle takes to fighting crime as well as helping his human companion make amends with his widowed father.
PLOT:
Alpha Dog (voice of JASON LEE) is a canine member of the Capitol City police force. Yet, he's not very good at what he does, with his latest snafu disrupting a press conference and embarrassing the mayor. He must also put up with bully dog Riff Raff (voice of BRAD GARRETT) and his two minions, but things get worse when he's snatched off the street and taken to the lab run by genetic scientist Dr. Simon Barsinister (PETER DINKLAGE).

He's a mad scientist doing all sorts of wild experiments on animals, and wants to inject Alpha Dog with human DNA. Yet, neither he nor his dimwitted but hulking minion Cad (PATRICK WARBURTON) can grab the dog once the needle comes out. In the resultant chaos, however, experimental serum soaks Alpha Dog, and Barsinister is injured in the destruction of his lab.

Unbeknownst to him, Alpha Dog has now been imbued with super powers, including the ability to fly. But he ends up going home with former cop turned security guard Dan Unger (JAMES BELUSHI) who left the force after his wife's death to spend more time with his teenage son, Jack (ALEX NEUBERGER). Dan thinks the dog might cheer up the boy, but Jack is shocked when he learns that the newly renamed Shoeshine, a.k.a. Underdog, can speak.

Concerned that school newspaper reporter Molly (TAYLOR MOMSEN) -- whose dog Polly (voice of AMY ADAMS) draws the interest of the super dog - might see him in action, Jack convinces Underdog to become a crime fighter with both a professional and private identity. With Barsinister even more deranged than before and wanting revenge on everyone he thinks wronged him, it's up to Underdog to stop him and save the day.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those interested in a talking dog who's also a superhero might want to.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For rude humor, mild language and action.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • UNDERDOG is a beagle and former police dog turned unlikely super hero who saves various people, must contend with Barsinister, and tries to get Jack to have a better/closer relationship with his dad, all while being interested in Polly who doesn't realize he's the superhero with whom she's so enamored.
  • PETER DINKLAGE plays the mad scientist who's doing all sorts of genetic manipulation and experiments on animals, including Underdog. Once the pooch upsets his plans and ruins his lab, he comes back looking for payback.
  • PATRICK WARBURTON plays his dimwitted minion who fancies himself a partner in their endeavors.
  • JAMES BELUSHI plays Jack's dad, a former cop turned security guard who quit the force following his wife's death so that he could spend more time with his son, but he's disappointed that the plan hasn't worked as well as intended.
  • ALEX NEUBERGER plays a middle school student who's been in a funk toward life and his dad following his mom's death sometime in the past. That changes when his dad brings him Underdog and he realizes what the pooch is capable of doing.
  • TAYLOR MOMSEN plays the school newspaper reporter who likes Jack.
  • POLLY is Molly's female dog who takes a liking to Underdog, unaware that he and Shoeshine Boy are one in the same.
  • RIFF RAFF is a bully of a dog who gives Underdog a hard time.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-rated comedy. Profanity consists of at least 1 religious phrase, while various colorful phrases are also uttered. Some dog-related sayings are present that some viewers could construe to be innuendo and thus sexual in nature.

    Comedy-based, superhero style violence is present, including characters hitting and knocking others around, and bashing into and breaking things (causing all sorts of property damage). Slapstick style material is also present. Some of that fighting, action scenes, and moments of peril might be unsettling or suspenseful to the youngest of viewers (especially those with fears of mean dogs), but few if any others.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (mainly the villains, but also including a middle school student toward his widowed father - leading to some tense family material). Crude humor is present, as is behavior that some kids may try to imitate.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, some POV flying shots of Underdog in flight might cause that reaction (zipping and swerving through traffic, an earthen tunnel, etc.).


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Underdog sneezes into Barsinister's open mouth.
  • After Dan names Underdog Shoeshine Boy, Jack sarcastically says that's appropriate considering the other things he licks.
  • Jack complains that all Underdog does is eat, sleep and poop, with Dan jokingly replying that means the dog and boy have a lot in common.
  • Underdog bites down into a can of chili, but his super powers cause it to squirt out both sides, with some landing on a wall and the rest on a sink. When both Jack and Dan see that, they separately say they hope that's chili (and not dog excrement -- but they don't mention the latter by name).
  • Underdog tells Jack that if they're going for a walk, he might want to get a poop bag as he's getting that feeling (of needing to defecate).
  • Underdog does a super sneeze all over Jack.
  • Listening from a distance to a human couple having an argument (that we only briefly hear a part of where the man says they should see other people), Underdog reports that the angry woman told the guy for all she cares, "he can eat..." Underdog then says he's surprised humans eat that too (referring to the unheard "s" word).
  • Barsinister appears to have some scars on his face following the earlier destruction of his lab.
  • Underdog says that he chases his tail, adding that if he's lucky, he barfs and thus has lunch a second time around (meaning he'd eat his own dog vomit).
  • There's a dog complaint about peeing in a white porcelain drinking bowl.
  • After Underdog says that you never see dogs hurting each other for money, Jack replies that you never see humans sniffing each other's butts.
  • Some "liquid DNA" looks like blood.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Barsinister has a bad attitude for his genetic manipulation involving animals and then later for his plan of revenge. Cad serves as his dimwitted accomplice.
  • Riff Raff laughs at and mocks Underdog for creating a false alarm while working as a police dog.
  • The police chief has a bad attitude toward Dan.
  • We see Jack faking a sick leave note for school (making up an excuse and then grabbing a signature off the Internet), but his principal later busts him for that.
  • Jack doesn't want to spend time with his dad or accept his attempts to make the boy happy.
  • Two adult punks have Molly pushed to a wall to rob her (but Underdog flies in and saves the day).
  • Jack tells some white lies to protect Underdog's secret identity and super powers.
  • Barsinister constantly belittles Cad and his intelligence (in a sarcastic and perturbed way).
  • We see that Cad and some ex-con friends of his are robbing a jewelry store and have taken hostages, with Cad briefly manhandling some of the people inside.
  • Despite Underdog saving him from a burning building (only seen on the outside), a cat repeats what he earlier called the dog: "Freak."
  • Riff Raff mocks Underdog again, telling Polly that if she ever wants to be with a real dog, "Give me a sniff."
  • In separate scenes, Underdog flies through and steals a donut from a police car, and later zips by and grabs a woman's doggy bag from a restaurant.
  • Barsinister takes the mayor hostage and demands a large payment.
  • Barsinister has a bad attitude toward the German Shepherds he's employed as his goons.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed here and under "Violence" might be unsettling or suspenseful to the youngest of viewers (especially those with fears of mean dogs), but probably no one else.
  • Underdog is snatched up on the street and taken to Barsinister's lab, where he's warned by another dog about the bad human leader. Barsinister then takes the dog and, with a big needle (saying, "It will only hurt...a lot"), tries to inject him with human DNA for some genetic experiment. But Underdog eludes him, with Cad ending up crashing onto control equipment (that sparks below him and then catches on fire) while trying to catch the dog. During the chase, various lasers fire around the room, and a case of experimental serums tips over and falls on Underdog (imbuing him with super powers, and the dog zips off, blasting through a door), while a large panel falls down onto Barsinister.
  • Riff Raff and his two minions chase after Underdog through an alley at night. He then runs into Dan's car, denting the front bumper, but the beagle is otherwise okay.
  • Two adult punks have Molly pushed to a wall to rob her (but Underdog flies in and saves the day).
  • Barsinister's deranged, mad scientist appearance and demeanor might be unsettling for some kids.
  • Underdog stops a car that's lost its breaks as it careens toward a stopped school bus that's unloading kids (he plants his feet in the street, thus tearing it up as he slows and finally stops the car as it drags him along).
  • To try to snare Underdog, Cad poses as a woman (dressed that way) dangling from the side of a building. Underdog flies in to rescue "her," but his impact causes Cad to fall, with Underdog flying down and snagging him just in time before hitting the street. Cad then slaps a collar around Underdog who then takes off, dragging Cad through the city, crashing him against a curb, into a fire hydrant, and then through the glass of a bus stop shelter.
  • Dan returns home to find Barsinister and Cad there, with the latter holding a tire iron. We later see that they have Dan bound in Barsinister's underground lair, and then the same with Jack.
  • Barsinister has three German Shepherds approach and loudly bark at Dan.
  • Barsinister gives Underdog a pill to eliminate his super powers, and that causes the dog some pain (as we see flash images of his skeleton beneath his skin). When three German Shepherds are given power-inducing pills, we see the same in them.
  • Cad plants a bomb atop City Hall, and when Molly surprises him there, he ties her to the railing next to the bomb.
  • Barsinister has a bad attitude toward the German Shepherds he's employed as his goons. In turn, they turn on him, grabbing and tugging at his clothes.
  • Barsinister activates a bomb near Molly, with just a two-minute countdown and a delivery agent that will make everyone his slave. Underdog then flies in, frees her, grabs the bomb, and then buries it deep into the earth. It detonates and he races out of his tunnel, with the resultant explosion and fireball racing toward him. It eventually hits him, blasting him out into space where he floats unconscious. He's conscious when he reenters the atmosphere (and feels some pain from the heat) and then plummets toward Earth into which he crashes hard. Jack then picks up his limb body and everyone thinks the dog is dead, but he then comes to.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • In cartoon clips, we see a villain shooting a ray gun.
  • Cops wait outside a hostage situation with at least one handgun and one shotgun drawn and ready.
  • S.W.A.T. members carry automatic weapons.
  • Cad plants a bomb atop City Hall.
  • Barsinister takes a super power pill, grabs a sword from a statue, and tries to hit Underdog with it. Underdog then sends something at him that breaks off the end of the sword.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I smell a bomb...you," "That's when the freaky stuff happens," "Stop talking now," "It will only hurt...a lot," "Mutt," "Flea-bag," "You want a piece of this?" "Run, mail-slinger, run," "I really hope this is chili," "I'm freaking out here," "What a rush," "I'll screw it up," "Just chill," "Blow your mind," "Freak," "You ape," "You never see people sniffing each other's butts," "Dog-fish," "You're a hairy, four-legged superhero," "Bumble dog," "Sherlock Bones," "This is why dogs bite people," "No need to fear, Underdog is here," "You slack-jawed, mouth-breathing imbecile" (or something close to that), "Kicking butt, taking names," "Whatever," "Chicks dig that," "Put a muzzle on it," "Runt," "Give me a sniff," "There's not a hose cold enough to break that up," "I don't sniff and tell," "You're insane," "Holy moly," "Can I (something) get a break here?" "Creep," "You worthless mutts," "Pipe down," "The hero idiot" and "No need to fear, underwear is here."
  • Some of the action and stunts might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate.
  • We see Jack faking a sick leave note for school (making up an excuse and then grabbing a signature off the Internet), but his principal later busts him for that.
  • Jack and Underdog both let out exaggerated screams when the boy realizes he can understand the dog.
  • Various people spit out their bites of hot dogs after hearing Underdog comment about what's in them.
  • Underdog belches.
  • Underdog does various rhyming bits while talking.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful, ominous, and some heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 use of "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Some may view the following as innuendo to varying degrees.
  • After Dan names Underdog Shoeshine Boy, Jack sarcastically says that's appropriate considering the other things he licks.
  • About something Underdog said to her, Polly jokingly asks if that's what now passes for a pick-up line.
  • Riff Raff mocks Underdog again, telling Polly that if she ever wants to be with a real dog, "Give me a sniff."
  • About longing for the superhero Underdog, Polly says if she got with him, there isn't a hose cold enough to break that up.
  • About an unofficial double-date with Polly, Jack and Molly, Underdog tells Jack he'll give him a signal to leave so that he (Underdog) can put his moves on Polly.
  • When Jack asks Underdog where he's been all night, the dog replies, "I don't sniff and tell."
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Dan was a cop, but quit after his wife died so that he could be closer to his son. Yet, as we see early in the film, that hasn't worked as planned, as their relationship is strained.
  • Jack doesn't want to spend time with his dad or accept his attempts to make the boy happy, such as bringing him the dog.
  • While both are bound in Barsinister's lair, Jack yells at his dad for quitting the police force in the past.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • We hear that Dan was a cop, but quit after his wife died so that he could be closer to his son. Yet, as we see early in the film, that hasn't worked as planned, as their relationship is strained.
  • Genetic manipulation.
  • Dogs in police work.
  • The comment that heroes or born or made, and that anyone can be one, including an underdog.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Most of the following is played lightly and/or for comedy, and is done in a superhero style.
  • In cartoon clips, we see a woman hitting a villain on the head, Underdog flying into something, Underdog punching a villain, and an explosion.
  • Throughout the film, Underdog has various hard crash-landings.
  • When Underdog (in his previous career as a police dog) detects something at a press conference, everyone panics and runs out, with some people being knocked over.
  • Underdog is snatched up on the street and taken to Barsinister's lab, where he's warned by another dog about the bad human leader. Barsinister then takes the dog and, with a big needle (saying, "It will only hurt...a lot"), tries to inject him with human DNA for some genetic experiment. But Underdog eludes him, with Cad ending up crashing onto control equipment (that sparks below him and then catches on fire) while trying to catch the dog. During the chase, various lasers fire around the room, and a case of experimental serums tips over and falls on Underdog (imbuing him with super powers, and the dog zips off, blasting through a door), while a large panel falls down onto Barsinister.
  • Riff Raff and his two minions chase after Underdog through an alley at night. He then runs into Dan's car, denting the front bumper, but the beagle is otherwise okay.
  • After a mail carrier taunts him from the other side of a window, Underdog lets out a bark that not only breaks the glass there, but also in the mail carrier's eyeglasses. The mail carrier then drives off in a hurry, followed by the sound of a crash and a cat screeching.
  • Underdog accidentally causes property damage inside Dan's house when he doesn't realize the strength of his super powers.
  • Underdog takes off, but can't control his power or speed. He ends up blasting through some people, bounces off a truck, and crashes through an entire floor of an office building and its many cubicle walls.
  • Two adult punks have Molly pushed to a wall to rob her. Underdog then swoops in for the rescue, but crash-lands, causing a garbage can lid to hit one robber in the head, and a fire escape ladder to crash down onto and over the other, with that man then accidentally hitting the first with that ladder that's over his head.
  • The footrest of some furniture pops out and blasts Underdog against a wall.
  • We see that Cad and some ex-con friends of his are robbing a jewelry store and have taken hostages, with Cad briefly manhandling some of the people inside. Underdog then arrives on the scene, but accidentally bounces off a sign and blasts through the door. He then knocks one robber back through a wall, and kicks the other back, sending him crashing down onto a jewelry display case.
  • While we don't see the initial contact between them, Underdog causes a cat burglar (scaling the outside wall of a building) to fall and land on the hood of a police car (we see that impact).
  • Underdog stops a car that's lost its breaks as it careens toward a stopped school bus that's unloading kids (he plants his feet in the street, thus tearing it up as he slows and finally stops the car as it drags him along).
  • To try to snare Underdog, Cad poses as a woman (dressed that way) dangling from the side of a building. Underdog flies in to rescue "her," but his impact causes Cad to fall, with Underdog flying down and snagging him just in time before hitting the street. Cad then slaps a collar around Underdog who then takes off, dragging Cad through the city, crashing him against a curb, into a fire hydrant, and then through the glass of a bus stop shelter.
  • Barsinister gives Underdog a pill to eliminate his super powers, and that causes the dog some pain (as we see flash images of his skeleton beneath his skin). When three German Shepherds are given power-inducing pills, we see the same in them.
  • Underdog lands on a large, museum style globe, and by spinning his feet on it while trying to stay upright, the globe breaks free, bounces down some stairs, and accidentally hits the mayor, knocking him out. Underdog then jumps on Barsinister, but is knocked off and lands hard on the steps.
  • Barsinister orders some super power enhanced German Shepherds to attack Underdog (saying, "Lunch"). But Underdog has taken a pill that resumes his super powers, and he knocks one of those dogs back into a statue, causing it to crumble. The two other dogs then give chase to Underdog around the inside wall of the tall dome. Underdog then crashes into something, falls down to a huge light fixture, and that then crashes down to the floor.
  • Barsinister takes a super power pill, grabs a sword from a statue, and tries to hit Underdog with it. Underdog then sends something at him that breaks off the end of the sword, and then bounces over and hits Cad, knocking him out.
  • Barsinister throws a shield from a statue that Underdog instinctively goes after like a Frisbee, with it and him crashing into a large statue that breaks apart from the impact.
  • Barsinister activates a bomb near Molly, with just a two-minute countdown and a delivery agent that will make everyone his slave. Underdog then flies in, frees her, grabs the bomb, and then buries it deep into the earth. It detonates and he races out of his tunnel, with the resultant explosion and fireball racing toward him. It eventually hits him, blasting him out into space where he floats unconscious. He's conscious when he reenters the atmosphere (and feels some pain from the heat) and then plummets toward Earth into which he crashes hard. Jack then picks up his limb body and everyone thinks the dog is dead, but he then comes to.
  • Dan injects Barsinister with a needle to remove his super powers.
  • Riff Raff confronts Underdog again as a bully, but Underdog lets out a super power bark that leaves Riff Raff near completely shorn.
  • A phone booth is heavily damaged when Underdog zips out of it.



  • Reviewed August 2, 2007 / Posted August 3, 2007

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