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Overall Rating
3.97

Awesome: 29.05%
Worth A Look52.7%
Average: 10.14%
Pretty Bad: 2.03%
Total Crap: 6.08%

9 reviews, 94 user ratings



Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
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by Jason Whyte

"And stay for those credits!"
4 stars

I remember playing Dodgeball back in elementary school as well as playing it in Cub Scouts, and I remember the art of it all: you have rubber balls and you throw them at your opponent. You hit them and they're out. That's pretty much it. It was a pretty tough game to play in school since there were different levels of aggression involved, but we were all friends in Cub Scouts, so it was quite a bit of fun to play there. The characters in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" obviously never had my experiences as a child, as they needed an instructional video to tell them about it.

Sometimes, it's good to see a comedy, no matter how goofy all of the proceedings are, and just simply enjoy it. The joy of "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" is that it's a little bit smarter and edgier than we think it's going to be. It's a satire of sport and good-versus-evil of this silly game, and by combining winning comedic actors, solid writing and some truly unbelievable cameos, the film works a lot better than we expect it to. Surprisingly the film is NOT directed by Todd Phillips (who seems to be everywhere these days), rather directed by newcomer Rawson Marshall Thurber who has a zany comic timing that recalls some of the work by the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team.

Vince Vaughn is Pete LaFleur, the lazy owner of Average Joe's gym, a place where most of his close friends come to work out (and not do very well). Across the street, there's Globo Gym, a corporate owned company with White Goodman (Ben Stiller) running the show; the film opens on a goofy infomercial with an overbeaming White proudly exclaiming "We're better than you...and we know it!" When Pete finds out that the bank is going to forclose on his rusty old gym, they need $50,000 to save it, and they look for ideas to save the place. When an attempt at a car wash doesn't work, the obscure sports guru Gordon (Stephen Root, who will set the building on fire!) finds out of a Dodgeball competition in Las Vegas that offers $50k to whoever wins.

Of course, White Goodman wants nothing more than Pete's gym to foreclose so he can rake in all the competition, and when he finds out that these Average Joe folks are competing at this sport, they also sign up to play. Neither team are really great at this sport, and that instructional video that Pete's team watches is beyond description, a typical 50's piece where the boy is, of course, named Billy (played here by Cayden Boyd who would have been right at home in "Pleasantville") and Hank Azaria shows up with an odd cameo as world-famous dodgeball player Patches O'Houlihan. Patches turns up later in the film (played now by Rip Torn), and becomes the dodgeball teacher to Pete's players.

An aspect of the humour I liked in this film is when these dodgeballs hit, they hit the players all over the body, and while these people are in pain, it's only stings for a few seconds, so the pummels in the legs, groin, face and gut are actually FUNNY. And when Rip Torn throws a wrench at Justin Long, ("If you can dodge wrenches, you can play dodgeball!") it's unexpected. And if you've seen Justin Long in the TV series "Ed" or in "Galaxy Quest", you know he is a funny enough comedic actor to let it hit him and NOT hurt that much. And when the action finally gets out to Vegas, it's amusing to see that the event is not really cared for; the action is in a cheaply built recreation room with not much room for the action.

The work of Ben Stiller can either be painful to watch or riotously funny. When he fails, you get something like "Envy", but when he gives it his all, as he did in "Zoolander" and "The Royal Tenenbaums", it definately works, and it works here too. He plays the "dumb argument" role better than anyone, and I always love it when he makes a nonsensical comment and thinks he has gotten away with it. Vince Vaughn makes a good match against Stiller because he's playing it a bit more normal, although he does provide some laughs of his own.

I'm also big fans of Stephen Root, Missi Pyle and Alan Tudyk, and thankfully Thurber knows and respects their style of comedy and gives them enough room to breathe. Christine Taylor, a regular in Stiller movies, is a bit funnier and relaxed here than before. And Jason Bateman & Gary Cole play two of the most inept sports commentators I've seen on film since Fred Willard in "Best in Show"; Bateman especially because he appeared to have woken up 15 minutes before the show began and didn't know he was covering it. And as for those cameos, well, Shatner's here, and he's always good, and I'll leave the rest for you to find out.

"Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" isn't a true story nor is it about the underdog team, and it isn't perfect, but who cares? It's a comedy made in 2004 that actually made me laugh and laugh hard, and that alone is a feat in itself. If it works, it works.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10085&reviewer=350
originally posted: 06/21/04 02:51:35
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User Comments

5/12/11 RLan I was happily surprised by how much I liked this movie. 4 stars
5/06/11 dupadoit it rules 4 stars
12/19/09 Jeff Wilder Hilarious spoof of those underdog sports movies. 4 stars
7/19/09 MP Bartley Plenty of good-natured belly laughs and a fairly compelling sports film underneath. 4 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* Had its funny moments. The ending was pretty predictable but a good overall movie 4 stars
10/02/08 Shaun Wallner This film is hilarious!! 5 stars
3/22/08 Pamela White average Joes rule the world 4 stars
6/20/07 johnnyfog Thanks, Chuck Norris 5 stars
2/07/07 AJ Muller Straight up brings the funny; I laughed my ass off - "Pepper needs new shorts!" 5 stars
1/12/07 R.W.Welch C+ gagfest. Mostly on target, occasionally overshoots. 3 stars
12/05/06 Stanley Thai It's funny. It's crude. It's a good film... 4 stars
10/03/06 bullit16 Outstanding! 5 stars
5/06/06 Cuenzie Wunzie Hilariously great A+ comedy 5 stars
3/19/06 Jim An employment program for out of work celebs. Bateman & Cole steal movie as announcers. 3 stars
3/02/06 chris f very funny film i loved it 5 stars
1/09/06 whatevr The shizz-nite! 5 stars
11/28/05 BEN YODER dodgeball is exstreamly tasteless and lame. Ben stiller really needs to stop 1 stars
9/09/05 Tom Burns Hilarious! 5 stars
9/06/05 Fleetwood The best movie i havever seen, top shit 5 stars
8/18/05 ES Funny, worth the watch 4 stars
7/27/05 Kankasaur paraplegics should respect themselves, we play MURDERBALL, & we don't dodge traffic so well 5 stars
7/25/05 kaitlin j. vince vaughn is amazing 5 stars
7/18/05 amanda hollywood, women should respect themselves, we are not sex objects 1 stars
7/18/05 TheRedDevil The funniest film ever, 2nd to none 5 stars
7/12/05 sbpat21 very funny 4 stars
5/26/05 tony AWSOME MOVIE. i cried laughing at home and in the theater. Byfar the best stiller movie yet 5 stars
5/08/05 Spencer Paulin I think that it was the best ever and the funest in the hole wide world i watched it alot. 5 stars
5/06/05 Phil 80% of laughs come from "Man getting hit in groin". But Stiller is excellent 2 stars
4/04/05 Charlie Ben Stiller's great in Dodgeball. 4 stars
3/30/05 Richard Pryor great movie 5 stars
2/20/05 lj really funny--loved it 4 stars
2/15/05 Bobby da Squid There're only so many times that hitting somebody in the face or nads is funny 3 stars
2/09/05 nannette ryan I thought the movie was funny. The acting could have been better but it will give a laugh 4 stars
2/08/05 Kitina Blues it was ok...vince vaughn is soooooo hot!!! :) 4 stars
2/05/05 youreo The plot leaves you wondering, but these guys could sit in a room and sell tix. Funny! 4 stars
1/28/05 Jack Scallops You can dodge a wrench, You can't dodge this film 5 stars
1/19/05 Jeff Anderson HOPELESSLY BAD! A lame rip-off of BASEKETBALL, 10 times more funnier than this STINKBOMB!!! 1 stars
1/18/05 Ironwit Too funny for real 5 stars
12/25/04 Freddy I expected more. Only laughed hard at the wrench throw 2 stars
12/24/04 Phil M. Aficionado Funny in spots, goofy throughout. Excellent bit parts by several 3 stars
12/19/04 Nicole I was excited to see this - when I finally did I was disappointed 3 stars
12/13/04 KCobain Almost as bad as Zoolander. Tasteless humor that isn't funny. 2 stars
12/07/04 Albie Worth watching once 3 stars
11/21/04 Kristina Williams pretty funny...liked Zoolander better, though 4 stars
11/16/04 Littlepurch Not as good as everyone says but still enjoyable and funny. Rip Torn steals show. 4 stars
10/25/04 hudson great 5 stars
10/23/04 Matt It was the funniest i wish i had inflatable dick too!! 5 stars
10/17/04 Miles Morley Gotta love the dodgewrench scene. Ben Stiller your stellar! 5 stars
10/05/04 William very very very very exellent 5 stars
9/26/04 Ghetto Smurf Fuckin' Chuck Norris. 5 stars
9/24/04 BilFroth THIS is a funny movie 5 stars
9/10/04 bin ladan I say it is what I really wanted to see 4 stars
9/03/04 jennifer thank you 4 stars
8/17/04 Car wash girls' butts best part Christine Taylor better as Marcia Brady; her hubby better as protagonists. 3 stars
8/03/04 Kitina Blues for vince vaughn...he's adorable!!! 5 stars
8/01/04 Kathryn Knowlton Very funny 4 stars
7/24/04 Sandy Turynowicz funny 4 stars
7/17/04 Mimi I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. 5 stars
7/08/04 S.f. Typical Stiller film. Funny! 4 stars
7/08/04 jenny this movie sucked i mean really sucked you people don't know good movies 1 stars
7/08/04 Mary This movie was very very funny! It's definitely worth seeing. 5 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva Seemed like it was going to be stupid and it was but it is also funny 4 stars
7/04/04 Jeff Semlow Laughed from begining to end. Vince Vaughn rules! 5 stars
7/03/04 ZenCow Has some solid laughs but overall it's pretty tame. The angle about the pirate is strange. 4 stars
7/01/04 A F Gotta love the Joe prevails over Cobra, G I Joe reference. GOOO JOE! But a let down. 3 stars
7/01/04 DEVEREUX MORING 1 stars
6/30/04 elizaveta solid laughs AND the guy from 'Arrested Development'! FUN 5 stars
6/30/04 Melina Very enjoyable! 4 stars
6/30/04 Spinz This movie was kinda funny, but i always think Ben Stiller is! 4 stars
6/27/04 Katie O You know you shouldn't be laughing, but you are...and you are a hell of a lot! 5 stars
6/27/04 Gar Hilarious. I haven't enjoyed a comedy as much in years!!! 4 stars
6/26/04 Thomas Pacheco This was one of the better Ben Stiller films. 4 stars
6/25/04 Dougie Whitey This is an unfunny film that is insultingly bad. Nose picking is funnier than this crap! 1 stars
6/25/04 KingNeutron Some og it is just WRONG, but mostly funny. Vaughn is more like Chevy Chase. 3 stars
6/25/04 Mr boner I pissed myself silly. Make sure you're nice and stoned! 5 stars
6/24/04 charles lindquist benstiller is funny 5 stars
6/23/04 Titus With a little more pirate, and a little less Ben Stiller, that would be perfect. 4 stars
6/23/04 Paul This movie blew. Gettin hit in the nuts isn't that funny...really... 1 stars
6/22/04 ShakeZulah I haven't laughed as hard in at least five years. Comic gem! 5 stars
6/22/04 aerr qwer 5 stars
6/22/04 jason laughed thru the whole thing 5 stars
6/22/04 the truth cut-n-paste bs. yrs ago this site would have slaughtered this crap. the hell happened here? 1 stars
6/22/04 maxomai Fantastic slapstic. Corny. 4 stars
6/22/04 Johnboy I laughed all the way thru 5 stars
6/21/04 Scott Sheppard I actually was trying to keep my girlfriend awake the whole time. 1 stars
6/21/04 ajay funny, I laughed.. it's *barely* a "Worth A Look". 4 stars
6/21/04 TimmyToday People getting hit in the nuts is even funnier!!! 4 stars
6/20/04 andon People getting hit in the face with rubberballs is funny. Period. Go see it. 4 stars
6/20/04 Heidialyssa A good, funny summer movie. 4 stars
6/20/04 jon this movie was freakin hilarious 5 stars
6/20/04 Desperado very funny, defintely recommended 4 stars
6/19/04 Alex Great 5 stars
6/19/04 Emily I loved the Movie 4 stars
6/18/04 me a good film had some funny parts in it. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Jun-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 02-Aug-2005

UK
  27-Aug-2004 (12A)

Australia
  09-Sep-2004 (M)




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