Well, it’s a sight one doesn’t typically see attached to a movie – that particular disclaimer boldly displayed right at the onset of “The Underdoggs.” Take heed; it’s a Snoop Dogg film, and nearly every uttered word from start to finish falls within the spectrum of “expletive!!!” That’s classic Snoop, and he’s unapologetically staying true to his style.
Let’s be honest; the Hollywood rating system’s attempt to shield delicate sensibilities is somewhat futile in the era of instant online accessibility. The creators of “The Underdoggs” acknowledge this reality in their upfront disclaimer, recognizing that today’s kids are already well-versed in those words, perhaps more so than adults.
In this movie, Snoop Dogg plays Jaycen Jennings, the coach of a youth football team where preteen actors liberally employ colorful language. It might be a bit surprising initially, but it adds a contemporary edge to the film, reflecting the language prevalent in today’s times. Embrace the “expletive!!!” vibe.
The movie unfolds along a very familiar path. The title itself gives away the theme – underdogs take center stage. It follows the template of “Bad News Bears,” swapping baseball for football and featuring a predominantly Black inner-city cast. Every plot point is as predictable as can be, visible from a mile away, much like a spy satellite in the sky.
The narrative centers around the standard storyline: a group of misfit losers, a flawed coach down on his luck, losses piling up, inspirational figures turning things around, and a climactic showdown. Snoop’s character evolves from an egotistical maniac to a role model, inspiring his team to a string of victories. Along the way, he reconnects with a long-lost love (Tika Sumpter), a single mother whose kid becomes the star player.
While the film offers no surprises, it thrives on the comfort of familiarity, and it’s undeniably enjoyable. The primary source of fun stems from Snoop Dogg himself. Essentially playing a version of himself, his performance exudes ease and sincerity, despite the continuous bluster and on-screen indulgence in generous amounts of weed. He embraces his character’s flaws, riffing on his egomania and portraying a larger-than-life persona living in a mansion that’s a shrine to his faded glory.
Busted for various infractions and sentenced to community service (cue a big close-up of dog poop), Snoop’s character humorously grouses about the indignity. Snoop’s personal connection to the story, grounded in his off-screen involvement with the Snoop Youth Football League, founded in Long Beach in 2005, adds a heartfelt touch to the film. And that’s the unfiltered truth, darn it all.