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Overall Rating
3.97

Awesome: 29.05%
Worth A Look52.7%
Just Average: 10.14%
Pretty Crappy: 2.03%
Sucks: 6.08%

9 reviews, 94 user ratings


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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
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by Jay Seaver

"A clinic in comic timing."
4 stars

Both the math geek and the word dork in me get irritated by the use of "Lowest Common Denominator" as a perjorative. After all, as we all remember from elementary school, the LCD is what you find in order to add fractions. It makes it possible to bring these things together! A comedy that appeals to the "lowest common demominator" should, then, be one that appeals to a wide audience; that is inclusive. It should contain things that make everybody laugh, like pirate jokes, terrible sports announcers, and men getting clobbered by balls hitting their testicles or heads at high speed.

Now, obviously, those things are not, in an of themselves, funny. Okay, maybe pirate jokes are. But the others are, in fact, extraordinarily tough to do well. The slapstick that makes up much of this movie's humor is perhaps the most difficult thing to do well in entertainment; it's the sort of thing where being off by a quarter of a second can be the difference between near-uncontrollable laughter and revulsion at the movie's cruelty. Chuck Jones was said to have calculated how long Wile E. Coyote should fall off a cliff down to the frame for maximum humor value. That writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber gets it right roughly once every two minutes in this ninety minute movie shows some pretty amazing comedy skills.

He has a strong cast to work with. While Ben Stiller is probably the only true big name involved, and chews scenery with abandon as idiot villain White Goodman, star Vince Vaughn is at his sardonic best as Pete LaFleur, the laid-back, responsibility-avoiding owner of "Average Joe's" gym. I honestly don't think I've ever enjoyed Vaughn this much in a leading role before. Christine Taylor is the closest thing to a weak link; though she's got little funny to do other than react to being hit on. Not that any of the characters are more than a centimeter or so deep; they've just been paired with actors who are ideally suited for the roles: Rip Torn is a nasty old bastard, Justin Long is a dorky high-schooler, Stephen Root is a timid weirdo, Missi Pyle (who, someday, will have a good part with actual dialogue) is the intimidating but goofy amazon. And, in a closer-coming-out-of-the-bullpen bit of hilarity, Gary Cole and Jason Bateman elevate the film's last half hour to comedy genuis as perhaps the funniest sports play-by-play team ever.

Yes, ever. The movie is a standard team-overcomes-odds-and-inner-demons-to-save-their-whatever plot, which must culminate in a Big Game. Here, many sports comedies can get too serious, and while that's not terribly likely to happen in a movie about grown men playing dodgeball, Cole and Bateman offer just dead-on parody, straight-faced enough to sound real but absurd enough for the punchlines to score. This portion of the movie is filled with some perfect cameos, too, which I won't spoil here (avoid the IMDB entry until you've seen the movie, for that matter); they're likely much funnier if you don't know they're coming.

This movie is ruthlessly edited. That's to be expected, because timing is so critical in a slapstick comedy, but it's difficult not to notice that a couple of characters practically disappear toward the end, hinting at subplots that were cut out for one reason or another (which drops the pirate-joke percentage sadly down). This does, however, keep the running time down in the ninety-minute range, which means there's not enough time for the wafer-thin characters to really get annoying, for the three or four bits that it's milking to get too repetitive, or for the basically absurd idea to wear out its welcome.

"Dodgeball" is a lowest-common denominator movie, but in the good sense (adding fractions, rather than subtracting them). Its jokes are broad, but well-executed. It aims for the very biggest, most primal laughs it can, and for the most part hits its target.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10085&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/24/04 01:03:44
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User Comments

5/12/11 RLan I was happily surprised by how much I liked this movie. 4 stars
5/05/11 dupadoit it rules 4 stars
12/18/09 Jeff Wilder Hilarious spoof of those underdog sports movies. 4 stars
7/19/09 MP Bartley Plenty of good-natured belly laughs and a fairly compelling sports film underneath. 4 stars
7/07/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* Had its funny moments. The ending was pretty predictable but a good overall movie 4 stars
10/01/08 Shaun Wallner This film is hilarious!! 5 stars
3/21/08 Pamela White average Joes rule the world 4 stars
6/19/07 johnnyfog Thanks, Chuck Norris 5 stars
2/06/07 AJ Muller Straight up brings the funny; I laughed my ass off - "Pepper needs new shorts!" 5 stars
1/11/07 R.W.Welch C+ gagfest. Mostly on target, occasionally overshoots. 3 stars
12/04/06 Stanley Thai It's funny. It's crude. It's a good film... 4 stars
10/02/06 bullit16 Outstanding! 5 stars
5/06/06 Cuenzie Wunzie Hilariously great A+ comedy 5 stars
3/19/06 Jim An employment program for out of work celebs. Bateman & Cole steal movie as announcers. 3 stars
3/01/06 chris f very funny film i loved it 5 stars
1/09/06 whatevr The shizz-nite! 5 stars
11/28/05 BEN YODER dodgeball is exstreamly tasteless and lame. Ben stiller really needs to stop 1 stars
9/08/05 Tom Burns Hilarious! 5 stars
9/06/05 Fleetwood The best movie i havever seen, top shit 5 stars
8/18/05 ES Funny, worth the watch 4 stars
7/26/05 Kankasaur paraplegics should respect themselves, we play MURDERBALL, & we don't dodge traffic so well 5 stars
7/24/05 kaitlin j. vince vaughn is amazing 5 stars
7/17/05 amanda hollywood, women should respect themselves, we are not sex objects 1 stars
7/17/05 TheRedDevil The funniest film ever, 2nd to none 5 stars
7/11/05 sbpat21 very funny 4 stars
5/25/05 tony AWSOME MOVIE. i cried laughing at home and in the theater. Byfar the best stiller movie yet 5 stars
5/08/05 Spencer Paulin I think that it was the best ever and the funest in the hole wide world i watched it alot. 5 stars
5/05/05 Phil 80% of laughs come from "Man getting hit in groin". But Stiller is excellent 2 stars
4/03/05 Charlie Ben Stiller's great in Dodgeball. 4 stars
3/29/05 Richard Pryor great movie 5 stars
2/19/05 lj really funny--loved it 4 stars
2/14/05 Bobby da Squid There're only so many times that hitting somebody in the face or nads is funny 3 stars
2/08/05 nannette ryan I thought the movie was funny. The acting could have been better but it will give a laugh 4 stars
2/07/05 Kitina Blues it was ok...vince vaughn is soooooo hot!!! :) 4 stars
2/04/05 youreo The plot leaves you wondering, but these guys could sit in a room and sell tix. Funny! 4 stars
1/27/05 Jack Scallops You can dodge a wrench, You can't dodge this film 5 stars
1/18/05 Jeff Anderson HOPELESSLY BAD! A lame rip-off of BASEKETBALL, 10 times more funnier than this STINKBOMB!!! 1 stars
1/18/05 Ironwit Too funny for real 5 stars
12/24/04 Freddy I expected more. Only laughed hard at the wrench throw 2 stars
12/24/04 Phil M. Aficionado Funny in spots, goofy throughout. Excellent bit parts by several 3 stars
12/18/04 Nicole I was excited to see this - when I finally did I was disappointed 3 stars
12/12/04 KCobain Almost as bad as Zoolander. Tasteless humor that isn't funny. 2 stars
12/06/04 Albie Worth watching once 3 stars
11/20/04 Kristina Williams pretty funny...liked Zoolander better, though 4 stars
11/15/04 Littlepurch Not as good as everyone says but still enjoyable and funny. Rip Torn steals show. 4 stars
10/24/04 hudson great 5 stars
10/23/04 Matt It was the funniest i wish i had inflatable dick too!! 5 stars
10/17/04 Miles Morley Gotta love the dodgewrench scene. Ben Stiller your stellar! 5 stars
10/05/04 William very very very very exellent 5 stars
9/26/04 Ghetto Smurf Fuckin' Chuck Norris. 5 stars
9/24/04 BilFroth THIS is a funny movie 5 stars
9/09/04 bin ladan I say it is what I really wanted to see 4 stars
9/02/04 jennifer thank you 4 stars
8/17/04 Car wash girls' butts best part Christine Taylor better as Marcia Brady; her hubby better as protagonists. 3 stars
8/02/04 Kitina Blues for vince vaughn...he's adorable!!! 5 stars
7/31/04 Kathryn Knowlton Very funny 4 stars
7/23/04 Sandy Turynowicz funny 4 stars
7/16/04 Mimi I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. 5 stars
7/08/04 S.f. Typical Stiller film. Funny! 4 stars
7/07/04 jenny this movie sucked i mean really sucked you people don't know good movies 1 stars
7/07/04 Mary This movie was very very funny! It's definitely worth seeing. 5 stars
7/07/04 Denise Duspiva Seemed like it was going to be stupid and it was but it is also funny 4 stars
7/04/04 Jeff Semlow Laughed from begining to end. Vince Vaughn rules! 5 stars
7/03/04 ZenCow Has some solid laughs but overall it's pretty tame. The angle about the pirate is strange. 4 stars
7/01/04 A F Gotta love the Joe prevails over Cobra, G I Joe reference. GOOO JOE! But a let down. 3 stars
6/30/04 DEVEREUX MORING 1 stars
6/30/04 elizaveta solid laughs AND the guy from 'Arrested Development'! FUN 5 stars
6/30/04 Melina Very enjoyable! 4 stars
6/29/04 Spinz This movie was kinda funny, but i always think Ben Stiller is! 4 stars
6/27/04 Katie O You know you shouldn't be laughing, but you are...and you are a hell of a lot! 5 stars
6/26/04 Gar Hilarious. I haven't enjoyed a comedy as much in years!!! 4 stars
6/25/04 Thomas Pacheco This was one of the better Ben Stiller films. 4 stars
6/24/04 Dougie Whitey This is an unfunny film that is insultingly bad. Nose picking is funnier than this crap! 1 stars
6/24/04 KingNeutron Some og it is just WRONG, but mostly funny. Vaughn is more like Chevy Chase. 3 stars
6/24/04 Mr boner I pissed myself silly. Make sure you're nice and stoned! 5 stars
6/23/04 charles lindquist benstiller is funny 5 stars
6/23/04 Titus With a little more pirate, and a little less Ben Stiller, that would be perfect. 4 stars
6/22/04 Paul This movie blew. Gettin hit in the nuts isn't that funny...really... 1 stars
6/22/04 ShakeZulah I haven't laughed as hard in at least five years. Comic gem! 5 stars
6/21/04 aerr qwer 5 stars
6/21/04 jason laughed thru the whole thing 5 stars
6/21/04 the truth cut-n-paste bs. yrs ago this site would have slaughtered this crap. the hell happened here? 1 stars
6/21/04 maxomai Fantastic slapstic. Corny. 4 stars
6/21/04 Johnboy I laughed all the way thru 5 stars
6/21/04 Scott Sheppard I actually was trying to keep my girlfriend awake the whole time. 1 stars
6/21/04 ajay funny, I laughed.. it's *barely* a "Worth A Look". 4 stars
6/20/04 TimmyToday People getting hit in the nuts is even funnier!!! 4 stars
6/20/04 andon People getting hit in the face with rubberballs is funny. Period. Go see it. 4 stars
6/19/04 Heidialyssa A good, funny summer movie. 4 stars
6/19/04 jon this movie was freakin hilarious 5 stars
6/19/04 Desperado very funny, defintely recommended 4 stars
6/18/04 Alex Great 5 stars
6/18/04 Emily I loved the Movie 4 stars
6/18/04 me a good film had some funny parts in it. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Jun-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 02-Aug-2005

UK
  27-Aug-2004 (12A)

Australia
  09-Sep-2004 (M)




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