Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story


Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

As a perfect example of the pre-Judd Apatow days where comedies didn't bother with storylines or underlying messages, Dodgeball exists merely to make audiences laugh. Rawson Marshall Thurder's debut feature achieves this fairly well by frequently tickling the ribs (the fitness-obsession jabs are a hoot), but the problem is that those who want more than someone constantly getting hit with a ball will be left wanting. Reminiscent of the Saturday Night Live gang-starring Eighties flicks, the plot exists merely as a clothesline for a string of jokes...

As the happy-go-lucky manager of Average Joe's Gym, underachieving slacker Peter La Fleur (Vaughn) gets a bit of a shock when it turns out he'll need $50,000 to stop the bank foreclosing. However, when he finds out that local rival and owner of corporate chain Globo Gym, White Goodman (Stiller) is behind it, Peter and his gang enter a Vegas Dodgeball Tournament to win the prize money...

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Unquestionably, Ben Stiller is the highlight, not so much stealing the show as wrestling it from every other actor's hands with his tanned, pumped-up guns. Constantly funny, wonderfully cartoony and armed with an almost endless amount of quotable lines (reading a dictionary, "I like to break a mental sweat too"), his White Goodman is another memorable character to add to the Stiller stock-pile.

It's a shame then that elsewhere there's such an over-reliance on physical comedy. Sure, many viewers will be slapping their knees left, right and centre as our motley crew gets pelted time after time (after time) with both balls and wrenches, but after the 24th 'hilarious' hit in one scene it all wears thinner than one of White's lycra one-pieces.

True, Vince Vaughn gets the occasional good line and Christine Taylor (Mrs Stiller to the uneducated) balances comic understanding with stunning looks as the resident hottie-banker, but aside from three superb ultra-brief cult-figure cameos (to name them would lessen the impact), there's not much to get excited about support-wise. What's that? You noticed both Alan Tudyk and Justin Long on the credits? You'll wish the scriptwriter had too.   Funny for sure and featuring an outstanding turn from Ben Stiller, but Dodgeball belongs firmly in the Eighties.

Reviewed on: 04 Oct 2009
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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:

David Haviland ****
Josh Morrall ***

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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