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Dodge Ball

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

People getting hit in the face and crotch with various objects is only funny the first seven hundred times.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story seems to rely most prominently on face and crotch shots, without offering much else in the way of humor.

Vince Vaughn plays Peter La Fleur, the owner of a dingy neighborhood gym. It only has a few members, but they love the heck out of it. But when White Goodman (Ben Stiller) threatens to buy the place out, Peter and his crew join a dodgeball tournament to make enough money to keep their hangout. As you would imagine, White’s team is chock full of big, bad, strong men (and a woman), while Peter’s team is nothing but misfits.

Peter, however, has a secret weapon. He’s recruited Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn), the most famous dodgeball player, to train his team. Patches may not be completely sane, and his methods are unorthodox, but he’s all they have. Besides, he has some infinite wisdom, such as: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

It’s a true underdog story in which the good, well-meaning people always end up on top…or do they?

Dodgeball is a harmless enough movie, doing its darndest to make us enjoy the time we’re spending on it. It’s problem lies in the fact that it’s a completely by-the-numbers film that offers absolutely nothing new. And it’s not even really that funny (though there are a few laughs here and there).

Vince Vaughn is what keeps the movie going. He’s just a naturally funny guy, who has a delivery that works with whatever he’s doing (or saying). Ben Stiller, on the other hand, plays the less funny of his two onscreen personas. Supporting players Christine Taylor, Justin Long, and the ever-amusing Stephen Root add a few laughs, not to mention cameos by the likes of William Shatner, David Hasselhoff and Chuck Norris.

Dodgeball is not a great movie, but fans of Vaughn, Stiller, or mediocre comedies will surely get what they’re looking for.

The DVD comes in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1, with quite a few extras. Picture quality looks a bit muddy, but is mostly free of dust or grain. Colors are rich and detail is sharp, and there are no halos or edge enhancement. Audio is good for the most part, but surrounds are pretty much limited to the “ping” sound that occurs every time somebody gets hit with something. Dialogue is clean and channel separation is good.

Extras include an audio commentary with writer/director Rawson Marshall-Thurber, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. It’s a pretty good track, with the trio doing their best to entertain as well as inform. We also get some deleted and extended scenes, a few of which are moderately amusing, with optional commentary by Marshall-Thurber. Finally, there’s a gag reel, a fluff-filled featurette, and some trailers.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
92 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Stephen Root and Rip Torn
Produced by Stuart Cornfeld, Ben Stiller
Written and directed by Rawson Marshall-Thurber


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