Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) – movie review

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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

What kind of fun do depraved people play? A game that requires you to throw a ball at your opponent with the aim of hitting him or her at any part of the body ranging from the very sensitive parts to the not so sensitive parts in order to win? Well for this tale it is amongst others, five very desperate men with everything to lose and also everything to gain. Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) an extremely down to earth non-achieving gym owner whose gym is about to be sold off for $50,000 to a bigger more commercialised gym owned by the extremely obnoxious, narcissistic White Goodman (Ben Stiller) unless he can come up with the cash himself.

Just as it all seems to be coming to an end Peter, his two loyal customers and two employees, decide to stand up for their gym by enrolling in the national dodgeball championship to stand a chance at winning, $50,000 which coincidentally just happens to be the exact amount of cash that they need. Legendary dodgeball champion Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn) pops up to coach the team after he witnesses their first terrible game against a group of girl scouts. Patches whips the boys into shape with various extreme training methods such as swapping huge metal spanners, wrenches for balls his reason being “If you can dodge spanners then you can dodge balls”. White Goodman is not satisfied with just trying to buy the gym he wants to totally crush them into the ground so he and his team of pumped up heavies join the dodgeball championships too. Peter LaFleur, the great non-acheiver, is finally put into a position where people are relying on him to achieve something so the pressure is on and the balls are flying!

Hilariously silly, extremely entertaining fun this is just the ticket for some good old-fashioned laughs! This is definitely a true underdog movie and nobody this year so far has played the comfortable loser as happily and as laid back as Vince Vaughn does here. He makes losing seem cool and extremely normal and this is complemented by Ben Stiller’s over the top performance as the pumped up gym owner with a few very funny skeletons in his closet. With cameos from Chuck Norris to David Hasselhoff amongst others this is a great comedy that should keep you laughing throughout!

The direction of this film is very good as the story is simple and unpretentious. It is a fun movie with no frills or higher goals. It sets out to entertain by comedy and this it happily achieves.


4 out of 6 stars