Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story


Reviewed by: David Haviland

There are two types of Ben Stiller film: conventional comedies, such as Along Came Polly, and absurd comedies, such as Starsky And Hutch. Dodgeball, a film which barely registers that one of its main characters thinks he's a pirate, sits squarely in the latter category.

Although Stiller dominates the film, Vince Vaughn takes the lead. He plays Pete, a laid-back gym owner who doesn't bother to collect fees from the five misfits who comprise his membership.

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As a result, he's about to lose the gym to his rival (Stiller), whose fascistic Globo Gym urges customers to hate themselves enough to change. In the end, ownership will be decided by which of their teams wins the national Dodgeball championship.

Sounds ridiculous? Well, of course it is, and that's precisely why it's so funny. One of the team's training methods is to dodge traffic on a motorway. In their first match, the championship rules somehow oblige them to wear S&M outfits.

As well as being absurd, this is also shamelessly lowbrow, which is an asset for the most part, assuming you like slapstick, although it does lead to a few crass moments. In a film, whose message is one of self-acceptance, the fat jokes seem misjudged.

Vaughn is charming in a tricky part, requiring him to play completely straight, while everything around him is insane. Stiller is at his tightly-wound best, although gets too much screen time for what is a fairly one-dimensional role.

However, these are minor quibbles, as this is a hilarious comedy in the Saturday Night Live tradition, as broad as Happy Gilmore and as funny as Starsky And Hutch. Dodgeball should not be missed.

Reviewed on: 27 Aug 2004
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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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Read more Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story reviews:

Josh Morrall ***
Stephen Carty **1/2

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn, Alan Tudyk, Gary Cole, Jason Bateman,

Year: 2004

Runtime: 92 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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