With the season's big blockbusters out of the way, it's time for the dog days of summer movie viewing options. So what better film is there to see than one about a crime-fighting canine based on a 1960s cartoon character.
In this live action reincarnation, Shoeshine (voice by Jason Lee) is a disgraced police trainee who is picked up off the streets by Cad (Patrick Warburton), the bumbling sidekick of an evil mad scientist Dr. Simon Barsinister (Peter Dinklage). Working late into the night the Doctor is perfecting a serum that will put everyone in Capital City under his control. He sends Cad out to collect stray mutts on whom he tests his potion.
Just before Shoeshine is able to escape from his captors, a laboratory mishap accidentally exposes him to the concoction. As a result, the dog develops extraordinary abilities of strength, hearing, speed and flight. But he'd willingly trade in all his powers just to be a normal pet after a night security officer (James Belushi) and his sulky, teenaged son, Jack (Alex Neuberger), adopt him.
At first glance, Jack wants nothing to do with the little brown mutt. However, he changes his mind when Shoeshine lets him in on his secret, including his ability to talk to humans. Convinced that Shoeshine should assume a secret identity and become a flying guard dog, Jack helps the pooch make a crime-fighting costume.
Taking on the name Underdog, Shoeshine reluctantly becomes a four-legged superhero. Yet, while his intentions are good, the pooch is a rather clumsy law enforcer who causes almost as much property damage as the criminals do. Knocking over newsstands, breaking windows and triggering car crashes, the little beagle nonetheless manages to help numerous victims. But not everyone is happy about his help. Hidden away in a secret sewer-level lab, Dr. Barsinister and Cad are creating a tonic that will strip the pesky pup of all his powers.
Along with moments of peril faced by the hero, the film contains sporadic slapstick violence, some crude portrayals of bodily functions and veiled sexual comments between Shoeshine and his canine lady friend Polly (voice by Amy Adams).
However, if youÕre a dog lover that doesn't expect more than an afternoon of cartoonish escapism, Underdog will likely meet all your tail-waggin' expectations.