Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

"Terrible"

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Review


Can somebody please stop Ben Stiller?

Since becoming a box-office draw with "There's Something About Mary," the guy has been a horrendous ham, devouring scenery with an eye-bugging, eyebrow-stitching schtick so stale and predictable that his last dozen movies have all included the same gag: slow-motion scenes of Stiller madly mugging while dancing, or running, or playing the titular game of schoolyard pain and humiliation in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story."

The only variation in his on-screen persona is that sometimes he's an irritatingly neurotic, hapless chump ("Along Came Polly," "Envy," "Meet the Parents") and other times he's an irritatingly arrogant, mock-sexy-pouting, self-obsessed moron ("Starsky & Hutch," "Zoolander").

The latter variation gets a testosterone-overload workout in "Dodgeball," as cartoon-villain Stiller twists his feather-haired biker mustache playing the pompous, pumped-up, narcissistic owner of a slick, corporate, uber-fitness franchise. He's a jerk bent on destroying his meager across-the-street competition, the run-down and nearly bankrupt Average Joe's Gym, operated by slovenly schlub Vince Vaughn.

But determined to save their unjudgmental hangout from foreclosure are Average Joe's nerdy movie-stereotype regulars -- and for no discernable or funny reason, one guy who thinks he's a pirate. They band together to compete against Stiller's buff-bodied team in a $50,000 dodgeball tournament.

Nothing but an asinine gimmick plugged into the fill-in-the-blank spaces of an underdog sports-comedy template, "Dodgeball" has very brief, usually incidental flashes of satirical imagination. In an elimination round, the Average Joes almost gets their clocks cleaned by a Girl Scout troop. The dodgeball tournament is broadcast on fictitious ESPN 8 ("The Ocho! If it's almost a sport, we got it here!"). And just by the nature of his ironic, apparently half-drunk, sneak-attack delivery, Vaughn manages to fire off a handful of zingers so much funnier than the rest of the movie that they were probably ad-libbed. (Jason Bateman scores too as a play-by-play announcer prone to wild non-sequiturs.)

But writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber (creator of the "Terry Tate, Office Linebacker" commercials for Reebok) spends 99 percent of the picture sleepwalking through "keep your chins up" speeches and serving his shameless cast a feast of pathetic punchlines like "You're about as useful as a poopy flavored lollypop," and "It's like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob out there."

Amid cheap racial gags (a tournament team from Japan wears sumo-wrestler "diapers" and kamikaze headbands), highly unlikely love-interest subplots (one nerd lands a cheerleader, Vaughn makes time with a pretty bank lawyer) and Stiller's overbearing clowning, the one vicariously vengeful pleasure in "Dodgeball" is seeing the actors repeatedly take real shots to the head from big red rubber balls.

If I could have thrown a few of them myself, it almost would have been worth suffering through this garbage.



Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th June 2004

Box Office USA: $114.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $167.7M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: 20th Century Fox

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Fresh: 113 Rotten: 48

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Peter La Fleur, as Kate Veatch, as White Goodman, as Patches O'Houlihan, as Justin, as Pepper Brooks, as Gordon, as Owen, as Dwight, as Steve the Pirate, as Fran, Jamal Duff as Me'Shell Jones, as Cotton McKnight, as Young Patches O'Houlihan, Al Kaplon as Tournament Referee

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.