Toon’d Out Month 3: Underdog

A Superhero film where  the hero causes damage to a city, and the Lois Lane is Amy Adams. Not that will never happen again!

A Superhero film where the hero causes damage to a city, and the Lois Lane is Amy Adams. Not that will never happen again!

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, now we get into a well known bad live action adaptation. It’s no Alvin but plenty of people dislike it, with a 15 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Created in 1964, (by General mills, to sell more cereal. Really) the original cartoon was about a superhero dog that was pretty much a spoof of Superman. For example, this show;s Clark Kent is a shoe-shine boy, named…ShoeShine boy.

And he doesn’t pretend to be human. He is openly a talking dog. Shouldn’t he pretend to be a Non-talking dog, so people don’t put 2 and 2 together? Whatever. It was fairly popular, so in 2007, Disney figured Underdog was next to be butchered by the live action curse.

I have no idea how bad it is, but I think it will be fairly sucky. For one, it’s from the brilliant director of Quest For Camelot! Not enough for you? Of the 3 writers, the most notable is Adam Rifkin, who I just called out recently as an actor in Going Overboard, and creator of Bone Chillers.

I doubt this movie will have a zombie turkey.

Not much else to say, since I knew little about the show outside of what Wikipedia tells me. Though it tells me Underdog sometimes causes Collateral Damage, and sometimes people bitched at him about it.

Too easy.

This, is Underdog

The movie opens with clips of the show, as Underdog explains the premise us. Yes, start your crappy movie with clips from your much better source materiel. Great idea!

Then our hero tells us he’s getting ahead of himself, cuz this is an origin story! Cuz it worked out so well with Inspector Gadget and Rise of-wait it did, but no one got that it was a prequel, so they called it “unfaithful”.

We really start at City Hall, as Underdog used to be a normal beagle working for the police. Also, he’s voiced by Jason Lee. Alvin, and now this? Please fire your agent. Anyway, Underdog never had a family but he was raised to do good.

The mayor is giving a speech about the crime problem. However, the dog barks at some boxes, and he is on the bomb squad, so they think there is a bomb, and this causes panic. Do most bomb squads have a dog? Since when can dogs smell bombs?

And before you say it, this is BEFORE he gets Superpowers.

Eventually, every leaves but some guys figure out he was just barking at a ham. This is what happens when you jump to conclusions like a moron. Natrulyl ,the other dogs mock him for this.

“I smell a bomb. You!”

Too bad this movie actually made money, or that joke would be even funnier. Underdog (he doesn’t have a proper yet for some reason) tells us this was only his latest, in a long line mistakes.

“Like the time I met that cute poodle, and it turned out to be a guy/”

….Okay.

He runs away, and he is found by some guy who takes them to this place where our hero is locked up next to some other dogs. This other dog tells him this isn’t a pound, but a lab where “freaky stuff” happens.

We are only 5 minutes in, and 1 of them was the pointless cartoon intro. And already we are jumping into this, with that other dogs delivery of this lines being very rushed. Don’t you love rushed movies?

We to outside as we see this place is some company, and we meet our villain, Simon Bar Sinster, (love that name), played by Peter Dinklage. And that’s not our last wasted actor from another ad film, cuz his henchman , Cad, is Patrick Warburton!

Yes, Patrick has a henchman. That has never happened before! Also, his name is Cad Lackey. Nice.

We learn Simon hates the mayor because he turned down his proposal for a type of genetic experimenting for the city. Yeah, I can’t see why he rejected it either. He plans to prove the mayor wrong by testing a serum on our canine hero.

Thankfully, our hero sneezes in Simon’s face before he injects the needle, and he runs all over the place, messing up their machines. However, some of the serum happened in be some bottles, and of course they spill onto our hero, giving him the power to break through the metal doors, and escape.

Underdog heads to an alleyway to get find some food, when some dogs come in to pick on him. The leader is Riff Raff, voiced by Brad Garret.

“I’d rip you to pieces, but I don’t wanna get my paws dirty/’

Well, this guy is the best dog character so far. I say that cuz I did like some of Simon and Cad’s interactions in their opening scene.

His goon chase our hero, until the apperence of a human scares them off. Yeah, I expected Underdog to show of his new powers but ah well. Instead, he is found by Dan, played by Jim Belushi. Since Underdog is a stray, he decides to take him in. He takes him home and we meet his son, Jack.

Underdog licks Dan’s shoe, so he is dubbed Shoeshine. Well, that reference was….shoe horned in

I’m sorry.

If you guessed that son and father are having issues, and the son is being a dick during this, you have seen another movie!

“All he does is eat sleep, and poop”

”Well, the two of you have a lot in common, don’t ya?”

Okay, that was funny.

The next day, (we are in the next day already , after the first bit with Dan, btw) ShoeShine is left home alone while Dan and Jack are at work and school. We get a bit where the mail man comes by and Shoe-Shine scares him off with his new found sonic bark.

This makes the man drive off, and we get the, what I call, “Cat Wilhelm scream”. Then-

SHOE-SHINE: Two for one!

Okay, that was funny too. …What, they finally lampshaded the fact that cats always get hurt off screen!

He makes of the place, thanks to his new super strength.

“Give me a break, it was an accident”

Shoe says that out loud, and Jack hears it cuz he comes home right then.. After Jack screams in a very unconvincing way, he walks away to get away from his scary new talking dog. Call me when he has a blog, cuz that would make for a better movie.

The two talk it out at the park (as no hears Shoe-Shine for some reason) but Jack’s forced love interest shows up in the form of Molly, a reporter for the school paper. Yeah, we all know this is an obvious spoof of famous superhero love interest…Mary Jane. Duh!

Also, hi Live action Cindy Lou Who! Though she is now way more than 2. Then we get Underdog’s love interest, Polly, who is Molly’s dog. She speaks up and oh boy, more wasted talent, because it’s Amy Adams.

Wait, she is owned by a Lois Lane spoof, and it’s …Amy Adams. …Yeah, I won’t even say it.

“You smell like a pig’s ear”

“Is that what passes for a pick up line?”

New best character.

After some awkward banter, she rejects him as she needs a guy with “pizazz”. Which means if he ends up with her due to his powers, her shallow-ness will be proven! What a believable romance.

For now, Shoe-Shine is friend-zoned, and Molly leaves. Jack then tries to see what other powers Shoe has. He has super speed, super sneezing, , and super hearing. Yeah, he hears an arguing couple.

“She says for all she cares he can eat….wait, people eat that too?’

You know-for kids!

He hears Molly being mugged by two bad guys, so he flies to her rescue using predictably bad effects. He beats up the bad guys (to a music piece that sounds like a more upbeat version of the Danny Elfman Batman theme) and he quickly leaves.

However he ruined some stuff while flying over there (no one was shocked to see a flying dog because ?) so he gets all emo about it back at Jack’s place. Underdog says he is still a screw up but Jack assures he can be a hero.

Well, the attempt at at an arc is welcome (and better than anything in the Alvin sequels) but it’s pretty generic. Thankfully, Cad knocks on Jack’s door asking if he’s seen “his” lost beagle. Sadly, he leaves just as quickly.

“Who was he?’

“How should I know, all you humans look like”

Dat’s racist!

Dan shows up, but Underdog made a mess so Jack has to comedically keep Dan away. This is getting WACKY! However, this doesn’t work as Dan sees the mess but that fact is forgotten as Jack says he wants to keep the dog now.

Back with Simon and Cad, they find a new liar underneath the city, and they plan to get money to rebuild his lab. As tolerable as this scene is, it is sadly short as we join our supposed heroes the next day.

Shoe is with Jack in the city, and he sees a hot dog stand.
“Oh my gosh, they’re made of dogs”

HOT DOG GREEN IS DOGS!

Wait, he’s never heard of hot dogs? He can’t be that sheltered!

“And this is where I’m bored out of my mind”

A screening of this movie?

Nah, he means school. Shoe is wowed by a lot of things here, especially baseball.

“Sticks, balls, and running in one game?”

Sex jokes I could have made: 1

“Our team are the underdogs”

Does it count as a title drop when the title is a character’s name? Jack explains what an Underdog is, then an abrupt scene change takes us to Jack training ShoeShine, using a book.

“This book doesn’t have much of a plot, does it?”

Now this a dog that deserves a blog.

Despite some hiccups, things are turning out okay with our hero.

“The only thing that could mess this up is if a mad scientist out for revenge was underneath the city. …Well, guess what?”

Eh, that was a little funny.

By the way, the way the plot is written reminds me of an extended TV episode. I mean, we even have transitions that have the Underdog logo. Being based on a cartoon, this fits but it does make some of the plot points feel too sitcom-y.

After a small bit with Simon, we cut to Underdog and Jack as we find out Jack’s dog was on the police force but he quit to spend time with Jack, cuz his mom died, but he’s still never dog.

1. Yep, it’s a Disney movie.
2. Wow, this dad really sucks.

Then they they see a news report about a robbery.

“You never dogs hurting each other for money”

“You never see people sniffing each others butts”

“Touche”

Ugh.

Jack suggests Shoe go stop the robbery so after some coaxing, he heads out. It turns out the main robber is Cad (and some other dudes), cuz this is Simon’s way to get his money. Underdog kicks their asses and leaves.

All the “Action” scenes are really rushed. Kind of cool, but rushed.

Back at home, Jack and Underdog see a news report about the “super dog” so finally, the expected reaction will happen.

“You’re like Superman with a flea collier!”

Not until he snaps Simon’s neck.

Shoe is worried Simon will recognize him and thus find him, so Jack tells him he needs a secret identity.

“He takes off his glasses, and he’s a superhero!”

“People for that stuff?”

Okay, that was funny.

After trying some costumes and names, they settle on, you guessed it, Wolverine! Nah, he’s Underdog.

“Now we need one more thing to get people’s attention”

“Like a flying dog in a red sweater isn’t enough”

Heh.

Jack means a catchphrase, which is:

‘There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!”

With that, we get a montage of Underdog being a hero, set to, what I think is a movie exclusive Underdog theme, which is kind of cool to be honest. One bit has Underdog flying around the world and coming back in some really racist Chinese garb.

Nice.

Underdog becomes a well known hero, with the city declaring an Undedog day, because no one would have an issue with the world’s first talking dog being treated like royalty so quickly.

Back with Simon, he needs a sample of Underdog’s DNA . Then we cut to Cad in a dress, pretending to be a damsel. I won’t screen cap this image, it’s that bad. Not that I’ve been screen-caping in this review at all.

Cad hangs from a window in a big building, and at one points, he falls for real and Underdog almost doesn’t save “Her”. So if Underdog was one second off, he would have died.

Could have thought that plan out more, Kronk.

Thankfully, he is saved and he reveals himself to the mutt. But Undedog kicks his ass, in a scene set to a RAP about Undedog, performed by Kyle Massey. This is the 2nd time a Corey in the House actor has pissed me off in a week, what the hell?

Simon yells at Cad for being an idiot.

“GIVE ME ONE GOOD REASON WHY I SHOULDN’T DISPOSE OF YOU RIGHT NOW”

GIVE ME ONE GOOD REASON TO STOP CHEWING THIS SCENERY.

Thankfully, Cad got Underdog’s collar.

UNDERDOG NARRATOR: I hoped Jack wouldn’t ask about it.

“Where’s your collar?”

Haw.

So the dog and Jack meet Molly and Polly again at the park. But then the big alley dogs from earlier pop up and leave just as quickly. Polly says he should stand up for himself. Then she drools over Underdog, cuz she wants to bone him.

Naturally.

So Shoe has her meet Underdog that night. They have some forced romance and this scene with the two dogs, just shows off how bad the lip movements are. Though it’s still a step above the Buddies films. By the way, this is no Super Buddies!

Then they rip off the romantic flying scene from Superman cuz it’s a parody. But in this movie, only a couple jokes really lean to spoofing Superman, while the plot itself is just generic for the sake of being generic.

After that un-romantic scene, we cut to the next day Jack and Underdog are going to the park, but Dan wants to come along. Jack says no cuz of the talking thing, and Dan is sad that they are more distant.

UNDERDOG: He’s been reaching out to you and you’ve been pushing him away.

Thank you! This is all cliché, forced, and stupid!

“I’ve been pushing everyone anyway”

Didn’t I see this in Fat Albert? Only in there, it….was better, I guess.

While our heroes are gone, Simon and Cad show up in Dan’s house. But who cares about that when we have Shoe-Shine talking to Polly again! Thankfully, it as short as we cut to Simon’s liar, as he has kidnapped Dan.

“You’re insane!”

“I prefer the term VISONARY”

Give Peter the BEST PART OF A BAD KID’S MOVIE award, please. I give it out often.

Simon tells him that his dog in Underdog, and he need his power for evil. Simon has evil barking dogs surround Dan, to make him call out for “Underdog” though Dan still doesn’t buy it yet.

Undedog hears it, so he and Jack head to Simon’s place. Undedog reveals himself to Dan as he does the ?”do bad stuff to me, just let them go” cliché.

Simon takes away his powers and tells Shoe-Shine that people loved his powers, not him. After the “emotional” power losing scene, Simon gives the new power pill thingys to his dog minions.

Like all good villains, he leaves his victims to do his plan. Then we have a scene with Jack and Dan bitching at each other, cuz we need that I guess.

Jack yells at Dan for quitting the force and all that. Dan doesn’t explain WHY he didn’t spend time with Jack, since that was the reason he quit in the first place. As in, they don’t explain the main conflict exists!

With Dan’s advice, Jack gets untied and he unties Dan. Jack sulks about how this is his fault and blah blah blah. Simon takes his dogs to city hall to finally get revenge on the mayor for not accepting his proposal. The only thing saving plot points this generic is Peter Dinklage’s awesome-ness.

Shoe, Jack, and Dan escape and make it to city hall, only to find they are too late, and Simon has made it in. The film then tries to be sweet again as Jack says it doesn’t matter who he is, he will always love his dog cuz he brought his family back together.

With that slapped on bit of sappyness, Shoe discovers he still smells decently and thinks he smells a bomb on the top of capitol building. It can’t be a ham this time (unless you use my definition of Ham, given who are our villains are) so he thinks he has it right.

Simon tells the mayor his demands, while Shoe sneaks in through the vents.

“It was dumb of me to go in without a plan. What did I think, a solution was gonnna fall out of the sky?”

HUSBAND: It doesn’t work that way.

NAGGING WIFE: Well, how DOES it work?!

Shoe falls out of the vents and lands on this big….ball thingy, and it rolls into the other room where it bounces and Shoe knocks over Simon. Okay.

Shoe still fails to really stop Simon and Simon’s evil dogs from a bit ago show up. Then….he gets his powers back?

“There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!”

See, Shoe found a blue super power pill in Simon’s pocket and he ate it, and boom. Yay for a Deus Ex Machina!

After that, Molly and Polly are captured by Simon (like the stupid damsels they are) and are tied to the top of the building next to that bomb. One long fight later, Shoe tries to get the dogs to turn on Simon.

“If he was a good boss, he would be able to hire a better quality sidekick!”

Also, is it me or of is John Dimaggio one of the dogs? Sounds do much like him. If so, John has now voiced at LEAST 3 dogs. That’s at least one more than Charlie Sheen!

Anyway, this works and the dogs turn against Simon.

“There no bad dogs, only bad owners”

Except the jerkass alley dogs. Remember them?

Simon tells us that the bomb on the building will explode, leaking a mind control serum that will make everyone his slave. What if f the mayor agreed to say yes to your demands? He set this up before the mayor said Hell no, so if he said yes, this would fall apart!

Also…

BATMAN: Somedays, you just can’t get rid of a bomb!

Somehow, Dan does something and Simon is dragged away by the police. I guess the bomb is why Simon doesn’t seem to care right now. Speaking of Underdog still has to take care of that bomb!

By the way. They flat out forget about it while they were taking care of Simon. How about you save your love interest BEFORE taking out the guy who can’t so anything without the bomb?

Underdog takes the bomb and buries it in a deep hole in the park, cuz that won’t hurt the park or anything. For some reason, it doesn’t, just making a small explosion (Micheal Bay’s erection went limp).

It does hurt Underdog however, as he can’t escape the explosion and he is knocked out. So a bomb blowing up under a park does nothing to that park, but a super dog is hurt by it? Huh?

So yeah, they are doing the “HE’S DEAD” scene. Didn’t I see this like 89 times by this point?!

Only here they don’t even TRY to make him dead, as he opens his eyes as soon as Jack picks them up. Whew, I almost cared about something in this movie!

Underdog flies away and we cut to Simon and Cad being put in Jail. Simon is not happy to be in the same cell as Cad. He even yells NOOO. So the villain’s bomb was stoppped in a cool way but the man himself just got put in jail by some dude who isn’t Underdog?

Lame.

Anyway, Shoe-Shine talks to Polly as he is still hiding his secret. The whole secret identity thingy wasn’t really a conflict, which gets rid of the propose of even having one!

He runs off, telling us that we all have a hero inside of us, even if we aren’t born heroes.
He bumps into the jerkass alley dogs but he uses his super barking to scare them.

Underdog then goes into a phone booth to don his hero outfit, in another Superman rfpoff- I mean homage. The citznes see their favorite hero dog take off.

“Look, up in the sky!”

“It’s a bird!”

“It’s a plane!”

This never made sense to me. Even if it was a bird or plane, why announce it? It’s just a bird/plane!

“It’s a frog!”

“…A frog?”

Okay, that was funny.

“Nor bird, nor plane, nor even frog. It’s just little old me, Underdog!”

He flies away, there’s a freeze frame, and the credits roll with some fake outtakes, which are funnier than the past 75 minutes. Also, that stupid rap plays again. Joy.

So the Jack/Dan thing was slapped on, Polly is still shallow, and Undedog learned nothing! …The end.

Final Thoughts:

If my review felt half hearted at points, it’s only because the movie itself is. Which is why I was just “meh” on this one. There’s nothing especially awful about it, but it’s not any good either. I’ll give it credit for trying at points, which makes a tad better than than The Smurfs, even if that had more high points.

The plot follows every predictable beat, but I can forgive that on Underdog’s side, as sometimes the hero stuff is cool. However, Jack’s storyline is rushed, cliché and his character adds little to help this movie’s case.

I like the idea of his subplot, but he and Dan don’t do anything in the end, and it just kind of stops. It’s not as bad as other movies, but it’s still weak. Underdog is a genetic “below average guy turned into an awesome hero” characters, but he has some amusing jokes at times. Jason Lee is kind of boring but he has his moments, making his performance better than in you know what.

There was no point to Molly, and Polly was just kind of shallow. This has been done in other superhero stories, but you get the feeling there is a romance going in. In here, it’s like she just likes heroes and anyone normal is beneath her. That makes the romance very shallow.

Compare that to Mary Jane from Sam Rami’s Spider-Man. Before Peter got his powers, she was nice to him and didn’t ignore him too much and she even had her own personality and struggles. So, Peter’s own struggles made their romance believable.

Here, it’s just lame. Yes, it’s a “spoof” but we are meant to take some parts seriously, and when you write a romance this badly, I can’t excuse it. (Amy Adams is good, though).

The best part of the movie Is Peter and Patrick, who are a lot of fun as the villains. They are generic but they at least work together. I wish the movie was about them. Also, the action scenes are way too rushed and only a few parts near the end were cool. The effects suck too.

I can’t say the film is AWFUL but writing this made realize how weak it is. The humor just rarely pissed me off, and it did enough….competently that I was able to forgive it to a point. However, it fails to be a good spoof, and while it isn’t that bad, it fails to do anything to make me recommend it.

It’s….super mediocre. It tries to be like the cartoon at some points, and it has some good parts, but I think you can skip this one. Shortest review ever.

Grade: D-

Might as well give it that, since a score is too nice.

Not going to tell what the next one is, but let’s just say it’s another r infamously bad one. Joy.

See ya.

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About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
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