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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


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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"Worth a rental just for Vaughn and Stiller."
4 stars

The dodgeball they made us play in junior-high gym class was a lot less structured than the pro-level stuff we see in 'Dodgeball.' Mostly it was a matter of two groups of kids, staring across the gym floor at each other and gunning that red ball at whoever didn't move fast enough.

But the gist of it is the same -- as dodgeball legend Patches O'Houlihan describes it in a vintage instructional film, it's "a game of violence, exclusion, and degradation." Dodgeball touches on all three to render a satire of sports and sports movies. It's hardly a great movie -- many scenes are laughless. But it's good semi-clean fun, the sort of scruffy comedy made for couch viewing on a rainy Thursday.

Vince Vaughn takes what could be considered the Bill-Murray-circa-1981 role -- Peter La Fleur, lackadaisical manager of Average Joe's Gym, which, by benign neglect, he's managing right into the ground. Peter's gym is really more of a clubhouse where misfits can hang out and feel like they're working out. The clientele includes Gordon (the always dependable Stephen Root), a sad sack with a disrespectful mail-order bride; Justin (Justin Long), an aspiring cheerleader; Steve (Alan Tudyk), a goofball who thinks he's a pirate; Dwight (Chris Williams), who used to work at an airport and prefers his non-work at the gym; and Owen (Joel David Moore), who can be relied upon to mix things up disastrously.

This motley crew is endangered by the insufferable White Goodman (Ben Stiller, relishing a rare bad-guy role), egotistical owner of the high-scale GloboGym across the street. White wants to buy out Peter, raze Average Joe's, and put in additional parking space for his clients. Peter needs $50,000 to hold off debt, and Gordon notices that the grand prize in an upcoming dodgeball tournament is, conveniently, $50,000. With the help of GloboGym lawyer Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor), who can't stand White and who has a vicious underhand throw from years of softball, Peter puts together the Average Joes team -- who will eventually face off against White's team, the Purple Cobras.

Like many directors trying to deliver a just-this-side-of-R-rated comedy that's legally accessible to the lucrative teen market, writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber (a rookie) hints at a lot of dirty business without showing it; parents may find themselves explaining to their kids what "assless chaps" are, or why some audience members guffaw when Peter and his crew go to a bar named the Dirty Sanchez. Thurber gets a lot of mileage out of the hostile rapport between Vaughn and Stiller, who sound as if they improvised their scenes together. Rip Torn brings his usual irascible glee to the role of the now-broken-down Patches O'Houlihan, who offers his coaching expertise to the Average Joes and soon wishes he hadn't.

Dodgeball gives us quirky heroes to root for, though I wish White's team -- including the hulking Me'Shell (Jamal Duff) and the frightening Fran (Missi Pyle, alarmingly uglified) -- were more strongly individualized. A few of the Purple Cobras just seem to be Star Trek red-shirt types, solely there to get hit by our team's dodgeballs. The fight here is really only against one man, the arrogant White, and, by extension, the whole narcissistic-masochistic gym culture he stands for. You can tell White is a bad apple because of his mustache; between Vaughn's own 'stached villain in Starsky and Hutch and Will Ferrell's clownish Ron Burgundy (with facial hair that resembles two large, amorous caterpillars) in Anchorman, recent comedies seem to hold stock in Norelco.

The climactic battle between the Joes and the Cobras gets you worked up the way this stuff always does, and two sportscasters for "ESPN 8" (devoted to obscure sports), played by Gary Cole and a blissfully out-of-it Jason Bateman, pose some competition to Fred Willard's clueless emcee in Best in Show. I didn't like how the movie loses track of Alan Tudyk's pirate fetishist -- he plays Steve endearingly, with some sense of how ludicrous the character is, and makes us wish Steve (who may have been named after Steve Zahn, whom he resembles) had embraced his inner swashbuckler and come back to carve up some Cobra meat. This being a farcical comedy, the denouement is a little too neat, though you don't go to a movie called Dodgeball for a starkly realistic ending. The film wants only to pit its common-man heroes against a bunch of colorful, laughable adversaries, and achieves this goal admirably.

I don't know whether it'll become a cult comedy like 'Office Space' or the first 'Austin Powers' -- for one thing, it's made too much money, trouncing its opening-weekend competition, the Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks film 'The Terminal,' by racking up almost twice the grosses. Now there's a true underdog story.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10085&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/12/07 13:59:32
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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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