Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
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When their local gym is threatened by a large fitness conglamorate, a group of misfits rise to the challenge in a winner take all tournament of Dodgeball.
How's this for impressive trivia: Dodgeball faced off against The Terminal in 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 Vaughn) faces foreclosure unless he can raise $50,000 in 30 days. The solution: A dodgeball tournament offering $50K to the winners, in which Vaughn 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, Vaughn, 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, Dodgeball is no masterpiece, but you can bet Spielberg was unexpectedly humbled by its popular appeal. --Jeff Shannon
- 7 deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary by Rawson Marshall Thurber
- Alternate ending with optional commentary by Rawson Marshall Thurber
- Featurette: "Dodgeball Boot Camp: Training for Dodgeball"
- Featurette: "The Anatomy of a Hit"
- Bloopers/gag reel
- Justin Long: A Study in Ham & Cheese
- Dodgeball: Go for the Gold
- 6 Easter eggs
- Theatrical trailers
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Rawson Marshall Thurber writes and directs a highly entertaining, low brow, feel good story that utilizes a game most of us played in our youth. When I played we called it Warball, but it was generally the same. In the movie, the plot basically follows a charismatic, likeable slacker Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaghn) who owns a lackluster gym called Average Joe's. Financially he's in over his head, and he doesn't really care. He's smart and capable, but unmotivated and lacks the confidence. He's facing bankruptcy, foreclosure and a buyout from the big franchise Globo Gym, run by the feather haired, Fu-manchu sporting narcissist White Goodman (played well over the top by Ben Stiller, but certainly one of his funniest roles). Lafleur and a misfit group of his gym members decide to enter the professional Dodge ball circuit and go to Las Vegas to win the money needed to keep their gym open.
Enter Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor, Stiller's real life wife) as the bank rep who is pursued by Goodman but finds herself drawn to Peter. So much so she joins his group of underachievers in the competitions, baring a softball pitch cannon of an arm.
After a hilarious regional bout with a group a girl scout-like opponents, the group find themselves on their way to Vegas with a chance to prove themselves and win the cash. The dodge ball bouts are definitely the highlight of the movie. Anyone who has seen the `Terry Tate: Office Linebacker' commercials can tell the kinetic style transfers well to the big screen. The climax features a showdown between the Globo Gym and Average Joe's. The rest of the cast is well placed, especially role of Patches O'Houlihan played by Rip Torn, and the younger version played by Hank Azaria. The number of cameos is impressive as well; William Shatner, Chuck Norris, Lance Armstrong, David Hasselhoff as the German teams coach and especially funny is Jason Bateman as a former Dodge ball champ turned analyst whose commentary leaves intellect at the front door. In all, this is a feel good movie for adults, probably more directed at men, but still funny for all. Using a childhood memory, whether good or bad, and making it funny and entertaining. For everyone who probably wasn't very good at the game as a kid, this movie will make you believe you can be good at it as an adult.