Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

DVD Rating: **

Reviewed by: Max Blinkhorn

Read Josh Morrall's film review of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Dodgeball calls itself a movie, but it's more poor circus than cinema and this DVD release shows it - boy, does it!

There is some funny stuff; I laughed at many points. But the extras reveal that the director was instructed to change the ending and when you see his version, you realise that you haven't been watching the same film he thinks he made. Generally, different endings shed light on the creative process, although Rawson Marshall Thurber's ending is unsatisfying and gauchely incomplete. It renders the previous 90 minutes meaningless. The studio forced him to reshoot and he retells the tale in the "alternate ending" commentary, like a boy who's had his legs slapped.

Copy picture

Ben Stiller's mad baddie proves to be the highlight of the show. He wields bad taste deftly and turns lead into gold, almost. Being able to replay scenes on DVD shows his prowess.

Vince Vaughn plays the straight man well, but never really flies. The essence of the plot is the underdog theme and, given the subtitle A True Underdog Story, the film doesn't take any working out. In fact, plausibility seems to have been burnt at the stake here. A bunch of awful people manage to qualify for a major contest through a serious of dumb events and it's assumed that we're going to swallow it. Sorry, but I choked.

The more I watched the extras, the less I liked the whole thing. To cap it all, Christine Taylor's almost sweet self-deprecation is nice, until she describes herself as "not a complete spaz," by which I think she meant spastic. I've been unable to find a way to read that remark nicely. Uck!

If ever DVD extras revealed more about a film than they ought, look no further. They show the production team as crass juveniles, who don't deserve a place in filmmaking. Anyone buying this for a sub-16-year-old should think twice.

Commentary - runs over the whole film, including the extended scenes. It's bunch of blokes eating nachos, drinking beer and improvising. Palls after 15 minutes, but if you really want it, there y'are.

Deleted and Extended scenes - couple of interesting bits here, including "I want a divorce" and "Cardio Cowboy," which really should have been left in.

Alternate Ending - This is a non-ending by any standards. Just losing the game and having Vaughn look like a downtrodden dog is as bad a finish to a story about underdogs as there could be. Thurber tries to justify his version, but fails. Methinks, he protesteth too much.

Featurettes - five short pieces explaining different aspects of Dodgeball itself and cameos of the stronger characters, which are interesting, actually. The Dodgeball Dancers section is "men only".

Bloopers/Gag reel - best part! I enjoyed most of this. Even here, Stiller shines.

Inside Look - trailer reel for future Fox films, featuring only Dodgeball material. Other trailers were on another track.

Reviewed on: 05 Feb 2005
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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story packshot
Misfits enter LA dodgeball tournament in a bid to save gym from closure.
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Product Code: 25014DVD

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9 Wide Screen / 2:35 Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Audio commentary by director Rawson Marshall Thurber, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn; 10 deleted/extended scenes; alternate ending (with optional commentary by writer/director Thurber); blooper/gag reel; more with DodgeBall Dancers; DodgeBall: Behind The Scenes Inside Look; Easter eggs; 5 video segments and 2 hidden feature audio commentaries by Thurber and Stiller, Vaughn and Thurber; 4 featurettes.

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