This live action version of the 1960s cartoon uses CGI to make its canine hero talk and fly, but that’s about the only modern touch in this plodding, old-fashioned caper. Misfit mutt Shoeshine (voiced by Jason Lee) gets a dose of a chemical formula that makes him ‘Underdog’ – so dubbed by his new human pal, insipid youngster Jack (Alex Neuberger).
Jack’s equally uninspiring father (Jim Belushi) gets dragged into the drama when evil scientist Dr Barsinister (Peter Dinklage) gets wind of Underdog’s conspicuous powers, which he’s using to help people, Lassie-style. Dr Barsinister, naturally, has other plans for his formula, involving a bomb plot on the city and general world domination.
A few amusing one-liners creep into the script – boosted in no small part by Lee’s delivery – but the plot’s too derivative to deliver. Children with a fondness for pooches and a lack of movie knowledge will be well enough served, but this isn’t one of those crossover comedies that’s going to get the parents chuckling.