Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
A Film Review
Copyright Dragan Antulov 2005
Hollywood is getting increasingly infantile, and one of the manifestations of that phenomenon could be found in a huge hit which happens to deal with sport most people never think about after leaving grammar school. Infantile or not, some of those films can be entertaining, and DODGEBAL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY, 2004 comedy written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber.
The plot begins in Los Angeles where Peter La Fleur (played by Vince Vaughn), owner of run-down gym frequented by colourful misfits, is faced with huge financial problems. The gym is about to be foreclosed and, in most likelihood, sold to White Goodman (played by Ben Stiller), health guru, owner of corporate gym and La Fleur’s archrival. The only way for La Fleur is to prevent this is to organise dodgeball team and win the prize on the dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas. Goodman reacts by setting up his own team against which La Fleur and his friends don’t stand a chance. But things change where La Fleur gets in touch with legendary dodgeball coach Patches O’Houllihan (played by Rip Torn).
Anyone expecting to find something deep and meaningful in DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY should look somewhere else. For the filmmakers, the medium of sports film parody is nothing more than opportunity for the series of gags based on as much toilet humour as PG-13 rating will allow. However, thanks to Thurber’s capable direction and what seems to be a very enthusiastic cast, most of those gags work. Although the script sticks to clichés – including La Fleur’s romantic interest, played by Ben Stiller’s wife Christine Taylor – some of creative decisions were very fortunate. Stiller, who plays his villain over the top, is well matched by very subdued Vaughn in the role of protagonist. Although DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY in many ways looks like the embodiment of many things that are wrong in contemporary Hollywood, there are films more deserving to be evaded by the audience.
RATING: 5/10 (++)