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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



Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
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by David Cornelius

"Ben Stiller, funny again. 'Bout time."
3 stars

A brief list of some things that are funny: Mustaches. Big hair. Pirates. Obscure sports. Sports movie clichés. Big men with girls’ names. Hank Azaria with a dopey accent. Stephen Root in glasses. Rip Torn swearing. “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” has all of these and more.

Oh, the movie’s not too bright, but I couldn’t stop laughing, and that’s the point, right? And hey, finally a Ben Stiller comedy that doesn’t blow chow, which is all we ever wanted.

Here’s where the movie fails, just to get it out of the way. It wants to be a parody of sports dramas, but it also wants to stay in a comfort zone. It piles on the silliness yet keeps the story grounded in reality, as not to be too silly. The plot, which involves rival gyms competing in a national dodgeball championship, deserves a wild universe in which dodgeball is the top sport in the country, kinda like “BASEketball” did (yes, I really did like that movie, now stop asking). Instead, dodgeball, despite being presented as a sport in which its fans and athletes go full-out big time, is limited to an “obscure” sport, if only to make the movie’s premise sound realistic to skeptical viewers.

In leaving his story in our own universe, writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber (a name too serious for comedy?) sloppily blurs the line between spoof and just another bland sports comedy. It’s a parody that plays it too safe with plot and character. As a result, it’s too uneven - wild satire here, bizarre unreality here, normal guy stuff there. The film feels less than what it could have been had it unleashed the silliness.

That said, it’s still a major hoot. Stiller, as a goofball caricature of a fitness guru, makes a great ignoramus, and despite his being stuck in a one-joke character (look, he’s so stupid!), Stiller gives enough energy to the role that he makes it work. Torn, meanwhile, soaks up most of the good lines as cranky dodgeball legend Patches O’Houlihan (on his unconventional training methods: “If you can dodge traffic, you can dodge a ball”); here’s an actor who realizes how much fun it can be just to sit back and let the naughty words fly.

The dialogue, in fact, is where the movie crackles best. Where Thurber misses in storyline and tone, he hits with great quotables. Here’s a movie that describes the final game as “a David and Goliath story truer than the Bible itself.” Here’s a movie that asks Vince Vaughn to look Christine Taylor right in the eye and tell her, with a straight face, that it’s “time to put your mouth where our balls are.” Here’s a movie that reminds us about the five D’s of dodgeball: “dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge.”

Oh, there are some fun sight gags and a few laughs from the unpredictable turn of events, but “Dodgeball” is at its core all about the verbal comedy. Why else hire Vaughn, who can handle a slick one-liner with the best of ’em, or Root, who makes anything funny with the right nerdish delivery? Even when the movie depends on goofy cameos for a quick chuckle, the script’s always right there with an extra kicker. (I still giggle at the memory of Vaughn’s “Thank you, Chuck Norris,” and the bit with Lance Armstrong is far sharper than it needed to be, lucky for us.) And when an entire character is built around the premise that he thinks he’s a pirate, well, it’s not just a visual gag; the great Alan Tudyk gets plenty of mileage from every “yeargh.”

So while “Dodgeball” isn’t nearly as daring as it should have been, the comedy still sells. It’s a fun little nugget of a movie that’s good for constant laughs, and as I said before, isn’t that the point?

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10085&reviewer=392
originally posted: 12/06/04 19:59:09
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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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