It's always a bad sign when studios decide not to screen a movie for critics. When Disney doesn't do it, it's even a worse sign, since the studio does not routinely keep movies under wraps that it feels critics will hate. After watching Underdog after it opened on Friday, Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News concluded that the studio had made a "mistake" in withholding the film. In a review that appeared on Saturday, Mathews wrote, "Many adults like talking animals, too, and the animated lip movements and gestures computer-attached to the faces of this film's star beagle and other neighborhood hounds are terrific." Likewise, Glenn Whipp in the Los Angeles Daily News wrote: "Underdog exists primarily to spotlight a cute doggie who, through the magic of CGI, can talk, fly, snap chili cans in half with his jaws, dig big holes and bark loud enough to shatter a postman's glasses. That will sit fine with young children, dog lovers and connoisseurs of butt-sniffing humor." Other critics were less forgiving. Jeannette Catsoulis in the New York Times concluded: "Underdog may have been originally created to sell cereal for General Mills, but this latest incarnation couldn't sell Frisbees at a dog park." Sam Adams summed up in the Los Angeles Times: "The movie's sloppiness is galling, especially given its target audience. It's one thing to feed grown-ups junk and another to serve it to consumers too young to know they're being had." But Kyle Smith in the New York Post commented that "you could ask for a worse time of it than to watch a dog chasing a car -- and catching it," and offered this idea for a sequel: "Underdog vs. Michael Vick."




06/08/2007