Cast: Vince Vaughn as Peter LaFleur Christine Taylor as Kate Veatch Ben Stiller as White Goodman Rip Torn as Patches O’Houlihan Justin Long as Justin Stephan Root as Gordon Joel Moore as Owen Chris Williams as Dwight Alan Tudyk as Steve the Pirate Missi Pyle as Fran Jamal Duff as Me’Shell Jones Gary Cole as Cotton McKnight Jason Bateman as Pepper Brooks Hank Azaria as Young Patches O’Houlihan
Summary: An ensemble cast takes the schoolyard sport of Dodgeball to a new level. It is very reminiscent of Trey Parker & Matt Stone’s 1998 sports comedy BASEketball, but with more laughs.
Story: Peter LeFleur owns Average Joe’s Gym – a rather run-down fitness club where a kooky cast of regulars strives to get in shape. Next door to Average Joe’s is GloboGym, a first-class, state-of-the-art fitness mecca run by the self-absorbed White Goodman. Goodman is scheming to takeover Average Joe’s so he can tear it down and put up a parking lot. When LeFleur is told by banker Kate Veatch that he is in default on his loans and has 30 days to come with $50,000 or he’ll lose his gym, the gym’s regulars come up with a plan to enter the Dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas – where first prize just happens to be $50,000 – to save the gym for falling into the hands of Goodman.
Dodgeball is rated PG-13 for rude and sexual humor, and language.
What Worked: A true physical comedy – Dodgeball works best when someone is getting pounded by a red rubber ball or a car or a wrench. If you respond favorably to that sort of humor, boy are you in for a treat! The cast is great. Vaughn still has great timing and even though he looked a little tired here, he manages to keep the laughs coming. Stiller is just insane as Goodman – a five-foot tall, conceded fitness guru still harboring a secret love for donuts and pizza. Root and Torn as always are solid second tier players here. The other standout surprisingly was Bateman and his air-headed color commentator Pepper Brooks.
Few scenes are better in the film than the 1938 film about Dodgeball that Justin brings to Average Joe’s from his school. The film introduces us to dodgeball champion Patches O’Houlihan (Azaria) and is beverage-spewing funny!
What doesn’t remind you of BASKetball may remind you of Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore. You’ll know why when you see it. I won’t spoil it here.
Lastly, great cameos. Again, I won’t ruin them, but they are funny.
What Didn’t Work: The comedy isn’t for everybody and some of the raunchier bits were mostly misses. Luckily, the real naughty stuff is few and far between. Hey, it’s PG-13 after all. One character that seemed like he could have taking off but did not was Steve the Pirate. I was expected more freeform zaniness from him, but never got it.
All in all, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is well worth a trip to the theater. I don’t think there is another movie out right now that would make me laugh any harder or more often.