2004
Rated: R for sexual content, sexual themes, violence, graphic language, and crude humor.
Genre: Comedy Action Romance
Directed By: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Running Time: 1:37
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 10/15/05
DVD Features:
Audio Commentary -1. Rawson Marshall Thurber - Writer/Director, Ben Stiller and
Vince Vaughn - Stars
2. Writer/Director Rawson Marshall Thurber
Deleted/Extended Scenes
Alternate Ending
Bloopers/Gag Reel
Featurettes - 1. Justin Long: A Study in Ham & Cheese
2. Dodgeball Boot Camp: Training for Dodgeball
3. The Anatomy of a Hit
4. Dodgeball: Go for the Gold
5. More with the Dodgeball Dancers: In Pink, In Blue, In Black.
Trailers - 1. Original Theatrical Trailers
2. THE RINGER
3. ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
DVD-ROM:
Screenplay
Additional Footage - White Goodman's Cousin (Stuart Cornfield cameo)
Featurette: 1. First Time Director
2. White Goodman from the Globo Gym video screen
3. Justin with girls at Car Wash
Easter Eggs
DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY

 


"Those men and that muff diver in there believe in you!" - Patches

 "Dodge ball" for all its faults really does have a great cast of comedic actors in its corner to help deliver the material. With Stephen Root who plays his favorite sort of character (the misfit) who prefers to work out by walking around, he manages to add some true comic weight on the cast along with Justin Long who is also very funny as an aspiring cheerleader, and the ever ubiquitous Alan Tudyk who is sadly under-used as a man who thinks he's a pirate, or to him is a pirate. He adds the sense of randomness "Dodge ball" is glad to strut around with its gags and puns. But there are also other heavyweights that really manage to amuse. With witty dialogue, it's great that these experienced comic actors with deadpan delivery and straight arrow timing, really hit the mark very often.

Hank Azaria has a hilarious cameo as one of the most skilled dodge ball players in the world and Rip Torn picks up the slack as his older counterpart. Also, the sheer highlight to watch for are Gary Cole and Jason Bateman respectively, who give great performances as the colorful Dodge ball commentators who almost steal the second half of the movie with their hilarious one-liners that had me in tears. Most of it you can tell was obviously improvised and Cole and Bateman make the blow of the unfunny second half a lot softer. Vaughn plays straight man and comedic character at the same time and becomes an interesting hero, and he gets to throw the best lines.

With "Dodgeball", I was admittedly disappointed. With such a clever premise and such a great cast it's hard to believe that many times this falls flat on its ass. It's often times very bland without a sense of direction or real plot. It's gag after random gag that never adheres to a really coherent plot I cared anything about. From the beginning Stiller is on full
drive with his character of White Goodman, but the problem is, this is the exact same character we saw in "Heavyweights" in which he played yet another buff, health obsessed, machismo fueled caricature, fitness mogul who used to be heavy. It was a tired routine that was distracting because it was the exact same character with a different look.

With pun not intended, many of the jokes here are hit or miss and there are plenty of occasions for such a routine that the writers excel at, when the jokes hit they're great and will undoubtedly draw a laugh, but when the jokes miss they fall incredibly flat and almost painfully. Many of the gags here were so lame, and often times very dreadful to watch. The member who thinks he's a pirate is never really shown all too much, so we never get the real weight of the gag, and for a team of losers and freaks, they're surprisingly restrained in their goofiness and never really stand out as what you could called freaks especially considering how every other team in the American Dodgeball League look equally as freaky as they do. As for the ball jokes you'd expect, they're given to the audience at an almost rapid fire speed and it's difficult to notice all of them.

The problem was, the balls jokes are funny at first for about twenty minutes, but are spouted so much the only one laughing at the ball jokes by the second half will be thirteen year olds who will give a giggle. There's not much material to work with here especially considering we have people like Vaughn, Stiller, Root, and Azaria whom contribute equally. They're never used to the full extent except for Stiller, and we ultimately feel unsatisfied that they never give us the real extent of their comedic flair. I was very disappointed that the concept, plot, and characters were never really taken advantage of, and the entire film just ends up feeling like a missed opportunity. As for Christine Taylor, she is hot, but seriously, what purpose does she play other than bland love interest? And there are cameos from everyone, including the predictable obligatory cameo from a major sports star. It was obvious someone in the making of this film were cashing in on some hefty favors.

The film is ultimately disappointing, and occasionally really stupid with gags that border on cringe inducing to completely unfunny, yet it does excel in hilarious one-liners, an entertaining plot, great acting, and a talented cast, but in the end it just felt like we were being told one long joke but were never given the punch line.

 

 

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