Friday, August 17, 2007


For today's weekly movie indulgence, I had a choice of three new movies: Invasion - a paranoid-looking sci-fi thriller starring Nicole Kidman; The Last Legion - a prequel to the Arthurian legend featuring Ben Kingsley as Merlin; and Underdog, a superhero spoof/TV cartoon spinoff featuring a flying, talking beagle.

Natch, I went with the Beagle. I didn't really know anything about the other two movies and, not wanting to keep the line waiting behind me, I had to make a quick decision. So I went with the movie I figured would be good for some laughs. And it was.

Underdog features a beagle whose career as a police dog is on the rocks. Caught by a dog-catcher, he becomes a subject in a sinister (I mean, Barsinister) scientist's genetic-engineering experiment, and ends up with all kinds of super powers, including the ability to talk to humans. The dog escapes, quickly gets adopted by a widower cop (Jim Belushi) and his sullen teen son (Alex Neuberger, kind of a "B-movie Shia Leboeuf"), and begins a crusade against crime which eventually pits him against the evil professor (vertically challenged Peter Dinklage) and his idiot sidekick (Patrick Warburton).

Also featuring the vocal talents of Jason Lee and Brad Garrett, the movie is a "not altogether unenjoyable" parade of potty jokes, kids-and-animals gags, and comic booky campiness that is just bearable because it's done tongue-in-cheek. It won't win any awards, but it should bring families with kids some happiness for a weekend or two.

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