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A funny romp that will have you aching to take the court yourself.

  • Jun 21, 2004
  • by
Pros: Great Cast and Some fun jokes.

Cons: Not alot in the way of plot or acting.

The Bottom Line: A funny film that should be perfect for an afternoon of Summer entertainment.

The classic schoolyard game of Dodge ball is lovingly satirized in the new oddball comedy “Dodge ball: a True Underdogs Story” with often hilarious results. For those of you who are not familiar with the game, it involves two sets of players facing off against one another armed with red rubber balls. The object is to hot the others teams players with the balls and avoiding being hit yourself. If you are hot or a ball you have thrown is caught you are out, and play continues until all the members of one side have been vanquished.

The story centers around Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) and likeable if not very motivated owner of a local gym whose laid back approach to collecting dues and dealing with his clients have made him very popular. Unfortunately, it has also landed Peter into some severe financial hardships which manifest themselves when Peter is informed that unless he comes up with $50,000 in thirty days, then his gym will become the property of a rival mega-gym and closed.

Desperate to save his Gym, Peter is advised by some members to enter a national Dodge ball competition in Las Vegas, as it has a $50,000 prize that will enable him to save their beloved gym. Naturally this plan does not sit well with flamboyant owner of the mega gym White Goodman (Ben Stiller), as he wants Peter’s gym to become his new parking garage as well as woe the lovely banker Kate (Christine Taylor), who is assigned to help Peter arrange his financial records. Goodman is even further enraged when Kate rejects his advances and casts her lot with Peter and his crew.

Goodman assembles the nastiest team of unstoppable Dodge ball players ever assembled and is intent on crushing Peter and his crew once and for all.

A small beacon of light emerges for the beleaguered Peter when a former Dodge ball legend, Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn), arrives and teaches the guys the finer points of the game using some severe training methods.

What sets the film apart from other stories of the lovable losers is the great supporting work of Torn and Taylor they play very well against Vaughn and Stiller especially Taylor who seems to be having a blast playing against her real-life husband.

The matches are well played and mix humor and tension well. Especially the climatic match that unfolds in a surprising manner complete with a few red herrings and twists that will surprise and delight the audience.

There are also some great celebrity cameos in the film that add a nice touch, but what really makes the film shine is the good chemistry amongst the cast and the humor. The cast seems to be having a blast making this film and if you do not expect to much in the way of a plot, then you will likely find yourself laughing along and itching to take the Dodge ball court again yourself.

3.5 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach

My book of film and game reviews, interviews and commentaries is now available. It is on sale for 3.00 for a downloaded copy and under 18.00 for a bound copy. This is a great value for over 546 pages of material and full reviews. You can order a copy by clicking the buy my book link at www.sknr.net


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More Dodgeball: A True Underdog Sto... reviews
review by . July 17, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I had no idea what this movie was really about. However, I love Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor (husband/wife) so I got it. It was better than I thought it would be, and very, very funny. Yeah, it was a little predictable, but it had some very interesting plot twists that popped up throughout the movie. I was never bored watching it, and would recommend it to someone who is looking for something light to watch while unwinding after a hectic day.
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #107
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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How's this for impressive trivia:Dodgeballfaced off againstThe Terminalin opening-weekend competition, and 29-year-old writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber aced Steven Spielberg by a score of $30 to $18.7 in box-office millions. That's no mean feat for a newcomer, but Thurber's lowbrow script and rapid-fire direction--along with a sublime cast of screen comedians--proved to be just what moviegoers were ravenous for: a consistently hilarious, patently formulaic romp in which the underdog owner of Average Joe's Gym (Vince Vaughan) faces foreclosure unless he can raise $50,000 in 30 days. The solution: A dodgeball tournament offering $50K to the winners, in which Vaughan and his nerdy clientele team up against the preening, abhorrently narcissistic owner (Ben Stiller) of Globo Gym, who's threatening a buy-out. That's it for story; any 5-year-old could follow it with brainpower to spare. But Thurber, Vaughan, Stiller, and their well-cast costars (including Stiller's off-screen wife, Christine Taylor) keep the big laughs coming for 96 nonsensical minutes. With spot-on cameos by champion bicyclist Lance Armstrong, David Hasselhoff, Hank Azaria, Chuck Norris, and William Shatner, and a crudely amusing coda for those who watch past the credits,Dodgeballis no masterpiece, but you can bet Spielberg was unexpectedly humbled by its popular appeal.--Jeff Shannon
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