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'UNDERDOG' LACKS BARK AND BITE

Filmmakers are running out of ideas for quality movies. So many films are just adaptations of television shows: The Dukes of Hazzard, Charlie's Angels, Miami Vice, Starksy and Hutch.

The newest addition to that list is Underdog, starring the voice of Jason Lee in the title role and Jim Belushi, Peter Dinklage and Amy Adams, who was recently nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for Junebug.

Why an Oscar nominee would want to lend her voice to this piece of garbage is beyond me. Calling Underdog a film is an insult to the film industry.

I applaud the filmmakers for one thing: They know who they're going to appeal to. Most youngsters probably saw the previews and fell in love with Underdog. It has the cute talking dog and a hilarious burp joke.

But no one else should see it. Nothing appealed to me except Patrick Warburton, who plays a mad scientist's henchman.

The plot is ridiculous. A police dog leaves the force in disgrace and is dognapped by the henchman and taken to evil Dr. Simon Barsinister (Dinklage).

The dog gets bathed in chemicals that give him superpowers. A man finds the dog and gives him to his son, who names him Shoeshine. In the old TV cartoon, Underdog was a shoeshine boy.

After learning to use his powers, Shoeshine becomes Underdog and works to protect the world.

I feel sorry for the actors. I could hear Lee not giving his best. Underdog's owner, Jack, played by Alex Neuberger, tries hard but isn't that great. It's hard to give good performances without a good script.

This movie is a perfect example of why producers need to think of newer ideas for movies. If you don't have a kid who wants to see this, don't go.

Chase Shiflet, 14, will be in ninth grade at Blake High School.

Review

Underdog

Grade: D

Director: Frederik Du Chau

Cast: Jason Lee (voice), Peter Dinklage, James Belushi, Patrick Warburton, Amy Adams

Screenplay: Adam Rifkin, Joe Piscatella and Craig A. Williams

Rating: PG; rude humor, mild language, action

Running time: 84 min.

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