Movie Name: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Studio: Red Hour Films
Release Date(s): June 18, 2004
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Pete LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) runs a small gym called Average Joe’s that barely pays the bills. When Globo-Gym owner White Goodman (Ben Stiller) buys out Pete’s lease, Pete has a short time to get $50,000 together. With the help of his loyal customers, Pete finds the only chance could be entering a national dodgeball championship in Las Vegas and airing on ESPN 8 (aka “The Ocho”). White doesn’t want Pete to succeed and has also entered the dodgeball tournament. There can be only one winner, and Pete and White both want to be number one!
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is a slapstick comedy that often goes by Dodgeball. The movie received generally positive reviews and a massive box office return.
I know they don’t relate, but I always associate Dodgeball with Anchorman. Both movies were out at the same time and both starred the hottest comedy stars. Despite Anchorman becoming a cult hit, I always enjoyed Dodgeball more.
The comedy is a slapstick. It isn’t quite The Naked Gun, but it is surreal. It does a nice job making you like and care about the “underdog” team. It also does add enough twists to the story to make it not entirely predictable.
The cast helps make this movie work. I don’t normally like Vince Vaughn but I think he works in the movie. Ben Stiller plays a good over-the-top comic villain. Both leads are backed by great character actors and up-and-comers like Stephen Root, Justin Long, Alan Tudyk, Missi Pyle, and Gary Cole. The movie also features small roles and cameos by Chuck Norris, David Hasselhoff, Jason Bateman, William Shatner, Rip Torn (whose younger character is also played by Hank Azaria), and a great cameo by Lance Armstrong…which is quite regretful now.
The movie’s jokes are often physical. There are people dodging wrenches and sporting dominatrix costumes in the tournament. These physical gags make the movie work and bring a lot of laughs, but the physical jokes are joined by a nice story.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is a fun comedy. It is still funny today and holds up with multiple viewings. I don’t pretend that this is a smart movie but it is a laughable one. With so many sequels popping up years after a comedy is released, I wouldn’t be surprised if the dodgeballs flew again someday…maybe Vince Vaughn can play the Patches role when it happens.