Grab Life By The Ball|Grab Life By The Ball.
"The movie's a treasure of small gems. Desson Howe, Washington Post
|A group of misfits enter a las vegas dodgeball tournament in order to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.|
"Unpretentious, unsophisticated and all the better for it. Jim Dyer, Empire
"...a slaphappy send-up of the whole sniffly underdog sports-movie genre... Entertainment Weekly
"Pointed and satiric. Best of all, one must hasten to admit, it's pretty funny. Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun
"...a treasure of small gems. Desson Howe, The Washington Post
"Hilariously fake and rude. Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
In DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn team up once again (following STARSKY & HUTCH) for another comic romp. While hilariously satirizing modern-day gym culture, the film also celebrates a sport that has previously been relegated to the elementary school playground. Peter La Fleur (Vaughn) owns the decrepit Average Joe's gym, which has been losing its clients ever since the glitzy Globo Gym opened up across the street. White Goodman (Stiller), Globo Gym's main spokesman, is a preposterously vain egomaniac on the cusp of taking over La Fleur's failing business. La Fleur learns from a beautiful attorney (Christine Taylor) that if he doesn't come up with $50,000 in 30 days, his career running a gym will be over. Potential salvation arrives in the form of a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament, but conquering a sport one hasn't played in several decades isn't such an easy feat. Fortunately for Peter, he finds a coach for his team: the hardheaded, ex-superstar Patches O'Houlihan (Rip Torn). As Peter and his ragtag team make their way to the championship in Las Vegas, they must contend with White, who has assembled a team of his very own. Rawson Marshall Thurber's debut feature is a highly assured work, which features hilarious cameos from Chuck Norris, Lance Armstrong, David Hasselhoff, and William Shatner.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - DVD Review
By: Robert Strohmeyer
filmcritic.com DVD Reviews
Published on: 5/1/2009 5:39 PM
|For those who think it matters, this is the story of a small-time gym owner named Peter (Vince Vaughn) who runs a fitness center called Average Joe’s. Despite the name, the gym caters not to ordinary people but to a handful of rejects who simply won’t fit in anywhere else. But Joe’s is not all paradise and glamour; failure to collect membership dues or perform any of the other duties normally associated with running a business has put the gym in serious fiscal jeopardy. Now Peter must raise fifty grand to avoid losing Average Joe’s to his evil arch-rival, White Goodman (Ben Stiller). With the fitness goals of six abject losers hanging in the balance, the patrons of Average Joe’s form a dodgeball team in a last-ditch effort to save their gym....read the full review
Cast & Crew
MTV Award (2005)
||Ben Stiller, Winner, Best Villain
||Ben Stiller, Nominee, Best Comedic Performance
||Vince Vaughn, et. al., Nominee, Best On-Screen Team
||Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Nominee, Best Sports Movie
New York Times
"Nobody eviscerates the scary depths of male narcissism with such ferocity, and it is a huge relief to find Mr. Stiller flexing his oiled, low-comedy triceps with such vengeful glee....Consistently funny..."
"[A] slaphappy send-up of the whole sniffly underdog sports-movie genre, written and directed with a changeup pitch of whizzy aggression and bouncy merriness..."
"Superb performances from the deadpan Vaughn and the fearless Stiller in one of the funniest films of the year."
Sight and Sound
"Vaughn recalls the seemingly effortless shtick Bill Murray trades on, and the unruffled sense of amiability he maintains, even during the daftest bits of knockabout, is the movie's chief pleasure."
"[I]t's a worthy addition to the genre....Thurber and company deliver the goods..."
"[With] Rip Torn getting enormous laughs with his training methods as their coach..."
James Berardinelli's ReelViews 8 of 10
Of course, Dodgeball isn't a true underdog anything, but that's all part of the joke. A blistering satire of feel-good sports movies, this film makes its mark via the most direct route: it lampoons by adopting the tried-and-true "straight" formula and tweaking it a little. The approach works because many sports dramas are borderline unintentional parodies with less tension than a flaccid cable; all the filmmakers of Dodgeball had to do was to follow the plot-by-numbers approach, incorporate some obviously comedic material, and toss in a huge dose of over-the-top earnestness. The resulting product offers about 90 minutes of laughter (although the movie runs out of steam during its final third).
San Francisco Chronicle 5 of 10
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story isn't a funny movie so much as it's a funny idea. Just the word "dodgeball" is enough to evoke the beginning of a laugh, with its suggestion of grammar school frolic and playground sadism. Throw Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller into the leading roles, and all the comic elements seem there, except for a story and a script.
- Mick LaSalle
ReelViews 8 of 10
Of course, Dodgeball isn't a true underdog anything, but that's all part of the joke. A blistering satire of feel-good sports movies, this film makes its mark via the most direct route: it lampoons by adopting the tried-and-true "straight" formula and tweaking it a little. The approach works because many sports dramas are borderline unintentional parodies with less tension than a flaccid cable; all the filmmakers of Dodgeball had to do was to follow the plot-by-numbers approach, incorporate some obviously comedic material, and toss in a huge dose of over-the-top earnestness. The resulting product offers about 90 minutes of laughter (although the movie runs out of steam during its final third)...Few satires are capable of sustaining their comedic momentum for the length of a full feature film, and Dodgeball is no exception. The film starts out slowly, hits its stride fifteen minutes in, then starts flagging around the two-thirds point. By the time Dodgeball reaches its obligatory conclusion, all of the potential for humor has been burned up. Of course, comedy is subjective, and there are those who will be less-than-enamored with Dodgeball's sophomoric and occasionally vulgar brand of humor. For me, however, it was a pleasant diversion in the midst of a movie season that has been, to this point, a disappointment.
- James Berardinelli
Chicago Sun-Times 8 of 10
"Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" is a title that rewards close study. It does not say it is a true story. It says it is about a true underdog. That is true. This is a movie about a spectacularly incompetent health club owner (Vince Vaughn) who tries to save his club from foreclosure by entering a team in the $50,000 world series of dodgeball in Las Vegas. Proof that the team is an underdog: One of the team members believes he is a pirate, and another team member hasn't noticed that...Vaughn's club, Average Joe's Gym, is run-down and shabby but has a loyal if nutty clientele. Across the street is a multi-million-dollar muscle emporium known as Globo Gym is (there is no "l" in the title, perhaps because it fell off). Globo is owned by Ben Stiller, overacting to the point of apoplexy as White Goodman; his manic performance is consistently funny, especially when he protects against Small Man Complex by surrounding himself with enormous body-builders and building an inflatable crotch into his training pants...I dare not say much more without giving away jokes; in a miraculous gift to the audience, 20th Century-Fox does not reveal all of the best gags in its trailer. Therefore let me just gently say that late in the movie a famous man approaches Peter La Fleur at the airport and gets laughs almost as big as the Patches O'Houlihan training technique.
- Roger Ebert