Starring Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller
Directed and written by Rawson Marshall Thurber
IMDB Rating: 6.7
Vaughn and Stiller are mortal enemies in this classic sport-spoof by Rawson Thurber. A true underdog story this is, but is it up to the calibre of Stiller and Vaughn’s remarkable catalogue of comedies?
Peter LaFleur (Vaughn) is the owner of Average Joes Gymnasium, a bang-average small-time gym that is stuck in financial trouble following a buy-out from Globo Gym, a much bigger, flashier gym owned by fitness freak White Goodman (Stiller). Forced to find $50,000 in 30 days, LaFleur is persuaded by his gym’s regulars to enter a team in the national Dodgeball tournament, where the cash prize is $50,000. Their team of misfits, including LaFleur’s bank accountant (and dodgeball natural) Kate Veatch (Taylor) qualify for the finals in Vegas alongside Goodman’s own Globo Gym team, who are desperate to stop them winning.
This film has a classic feel to it nowadays. There was parts of this film that looked cliché but it never felt cliché. I guess that this is such a classic now that Dodgeball IS the cliché! Much like Ben Stiller’s Zoolander, this films thrives on its stupidity. This isn’t as stupid as Zoolander, I guess because it’s harder to turn sport into something so outrageous, but it still does a good job of dumbing down the story. This is a very quotable film, with the line “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball” something every 20-something has been, and will continue saying for many years! The only cliché complaint I really have is how many times Average Joes were on the verge of defeat, which was so ridiculous I was almost laughing at it (not with it) by the end. Maybe that was another joke by Thurber, but it honestly didn’t feel like that!
Ben Stiller is still incredibly funny, even if he’s quite uncomfortable to watch as the evil White Goodman. He plays the role perfectly, turning a character that could have just been – for lack of a softer word – disgusting into someone who adds another level of funny! I’ve never been the biggest fan of Vince Vaughn (although I was swayed by him in The Watch) and again he was okay in this film. I guess I just don’t see what he does, he’s just always the Average Joe! The same goes for Christine Taylor – however down to earth and beautiful her character always is, I can’t help but feel she would be just as good in a normal film as she is in these comedies, and I could never honestly call her a comedic actress. On a lighter note, I thought the cameo by Jason Bateman was very funny, and a big switch from the character we’re used to seeing him play. Also, David Hasselhoff’s appearance was very funny!
The directing in this film by Rawson Marshall Thurber is pretty good. Again, it’s not that important to the context of the story, and there wasn’t exactly any incredible scenes/shots, but the general ‘over-excited’ feel he gives to a lot of the film just adds to the stupidity of the movie.
Overall, This is a hilariously stupid movie, and while probably not as memorable as other comedies, this definitely deserves its own space in 00’s film history. Also, this has to be the funniest sports movie ever, doesn’t it? I cannot think of anything that comes even close to challenging Dodgeball for that title!