UNDERDOG Directed by Frederik Du Chau. Starring Alex Neuberger, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Warburton, James Belushi, voices of Jason Lee, Amy Adams PG cert, gen release, 84 min
HERE is a useful motto for today’s busy production executives: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to.”
Underdog was once an enjoyably rudimentary cartoon concerning a beagle who solved crimes. He wore a cape, talked in rhyme and did all the other things genetically mutated domestic pets like to do. Now we have a version for the 21st century and – just because they can – the film-makers have set the digital wizards the task of making a real beagle speak.
It’s so much more realistic, you see. If a cape-wearing mutt were to launch himself on America’s hoodlums then this is what he would actually look like. Cartoons are silly. This is real life.
Oh, please. If I want verisimilitude from my talking beagle movie I’ll ask Ken Loach to make it.
Underdog gives new meaning to the word “perfunctory”. The script may be lazy and the special effects routine, but the film does, at least, boast a pair of excellent villains in loony doc Peter Dinklage and bumbling henchman Patrick Warburton. Perfectly complementary – the cackling Dinklage is a little person, the lugubrious Warburton is enormous – these fine actors should be reunited as soon as possible (though not, please, in Underdog 2).
You’ll believe a beagle can fly . . .