Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story


Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Written by:Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Steven Root, Gary Cole
Released: September 9, 2004
Grade: A-

I’m a fan of Ben Stiller but as I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I see him as a very hit and miss actor.  When he’s hot, he’s hot and when he’s not, he’s not.  Looking back, Stiller seems better suited to more over-the-top, sarcastic comedies such as There’s Something About Mary and Zoolander.  I find him weaker in more straight down-the-line, quasi-emotional comedies such as Meet The Parents and Along Came Polly.

Judging from my grade, you can tell this film falls into the better Stiller category.  He is White Goodman, owner a multitude of gymnasiums spouting the motto – “we’re better than you are”.  Goodman’s looking to expand one of his biggest gyms by building a new multi-level car park.  It just so happens that the land he has earmarked for this project is owned by one of his competitors.  Next door is the gym of Peter La Fleur (Vaughn) and the bank has given him 30 days to pay his outstanding bills or they will seize the property and sell it to Goodman.  I guess the nice-guy La Fleur should have seen this coming since he brought in a dime of revenue in over a year.

With no chance of coming up with the $50,000 needed to save his gym, La Fleur and his buddies stumble across a crazy idea.  The national dodgeball championships are soon to be held in Vegas with first prize being (wait for it) $50,000.  Of course none of this team has ever played serious dodgeball before and if you were a betting man, you’d consider them the ultimate underdogs.  Will they succeed?  Only time will tell.

Comedy is the hardest genre to perfect as everyone has a different sense of humour.  The mood you are in when entering the cinema can also have a significant influence on your experience.  Well the cards were in favour of Dodgeball because I found myself laughing on many occasions at the great one-liners of Ben Stiller and Rip Torn (as the dodgeball coach).  Vince Vaughn is also funny because he’s the only normal character is a film of zany misfits.  I love good sarcasm and Vaughn continually delivers.

It’s quick and offers many laughs.  What more do you want from a comedy?  Dodgeball delivers both on and off the court.  It’s one of the best comedies of 2004.