Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Review (6/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story", Vince Vaughn stars as Pete LaFleur, the lazy and in debt up to his eyeballs owner of Average Joe's gym. With the gym on the verge of financial ruin, Pete is on the brink of losing his gym to his arch-nemesis and exact opposite, White Goodman (Ben Stiller). The short, stocky, grammatically challenged and obnoxious Goodman owns the massive gym called Globo Gym, across the street from Average Joe's, and he wants to use his vast financial resources to take over the mortgage on Pete's gym and turn it into a parking garage for Globo's members. That is until Pete and a rag tag group of gym members decide to enter a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas that will net the winners $50,000. They recruit the assistance of a beautiful lawyer (Christine Taylor) with a deadly accurate dodgeball arm and the coaching skills of Patches O'Houlihan (Rip Torn), a former professional dodgeball champion, and head out to Sin City, in hopes of winning the jackpot and saving Average Joe's gym. But first they must face Goodman's deadly dodgeball team, called the Purple Cobras , that is made up of gigantic musclemen, while Average Joe's team consists of a guy who thinks he is a pirate, a high school geek, a male cheerleader, an overweight extreme sports fanatic, Pete and Kate (Taylor). What unfolds is a true story of David vs. Goliath.

Dodgeball is a movie that is coming at us purely for the laughs. Does it succeed? Well, in my estimation, at times, it was funny and at other times, it failed. In fact, I never found myself laughing hysterically - more like chuckling sporadically throughout the movie and rolling my eyes at a few parts. I found that the movie went after the easy laughs way too often - guys getting hit in the balls, people getting hit in the face, wrenches being thrown at people - and it just started to wear on me after a while. White Goodman's language problems were funny the first few times but by the seventh or eighth scene, it wasn't funny anymore. And is someone who used to be fat rubbing pizza on their crotch really supposed to be funny? Even the cameos in the movies could be considered second rate, much like the laughs. David Hasselhoff? Chuck Norris? Maybe they could have done a bit better than that.

But with all that being said, I'm not going to take a complete dump on this movie. I found once the gang went to Las Vegas and actually started playing dodgeball, the movie picked up a little, had a bit more energy and I really liked how it ended. Some of the dodgeball scenarios were quite entertaining and surprisingly intense. I really liked Vince Vaughn in the movie. I can understand why some people might find his performance to be somewhat aloof but for the character he was playing, it was perfect. My only problem with the guy would be that he really looks like he needs to get some sleep. But besides that, I found Vaughn to be the man in Dodgeball, much better than Ben Stiller. Stiller has starred in some landmark comedies in the past but he really needs to go back to playing the befuddled and clumsy but likeable doofus that he has played in the likes of "There's Something About Mary" and "Meet the Parents" because to be quite honest, Stiller has been in one too many stinkers over the last few years. Dodogeball might not be a complete stinker but it definitely isn't going to go down in the annals of movie history.

Overall, I would say that Dodgeball might not be the barrel of laughs that it is expected to be, especially with a cast starring the likes of Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Rip Torn, but in the end, it will generate a few modest laughs and the ending should make you smile. I wouldn't recommend running out to the theatre to see this one immediately, but maybe somewhere down the road if you are feeling lazy and want to give your brain a rest, then check out Dodgeball and you might not find it too bad of a way to spend an evening.

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