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Review published
June 23, 2004
A.J.'s Rating:    3.5 Giant Red Balls
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    The saying goes that stupid is as stupid does, and if recent Hollywood comedies are any indication, nobody does "stupid" more often than Ben Stiller.  Well, except for perhaps Will Ferrell... and the Wayans brothers... and a couple of other guys, but you get the idea.  See what happens when Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler start landing serious roles? 
    In DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, Stiller continues his time-honored tradition of accepting every role that's offered to him.  It was bound to happen eventually.  Stiller has finally struck pay-dirt.  Believe it or not, DodgeBall brings up another saying, one that most internet surfers should recognize... LMAO!  For the web-acronym-impaired, that means I laughed my ass off.  And that's just a figure of speech, by the way.  Can you imagine how funny something would have to be for a person to laugh so hard that their ass actually fell off?  I mean, is that even possible?  Well, one thing's for sure... if it was, it would be pretty funny to see.  In fact, I'd probably laugh my ass off.
    But enough about the embarrassing involuntary loss of silly body parts.  We've got a movie to review.  DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story!  The story is about a likeable bunch of losers, headed by Vince Vaughn, who attempt to overcome adversity to save their beloved local gym.  Vaughn's character is named Peter La Fleur, but that's not important.  Endangering his neighborhood gym is a $50,000 bank debt, as well as a rival gym owner, the rich and powerful bodybuilding baron, White Goodman.  Goodman is played by the aforementioned Stiller.  As luck would have it, Vaughn and his motley team of average Joe's have a chance to compete in the National Dodgeball Championship.  The prize for winning... $50,000!  Of course, our underdogs don't know squat about dodgeball.  They need a legend of the sport to coach them, and they find one in Patches O'Houlihan, played by Rip Torn.  Like most legendary ball players, it seems that Patches has taken just a few too many hits to the old noggin.  Not to be outdone, the villianous Goodman enters the competition with his own team of ringers and hired goons.  Looks like there's gonna be a red-ball showdown!
    Okay, my first impression was that this is the most unimaginative underdog sports comedy I've ever seen.  It's just one tired cliché after another!  They aren't even trying!  And then it hit me... DodgeBall is not an underdog sports comedy.  It's a spoof of underdog sports comedies!  A subtle difference, to be sure, but the endless parade of overused and obvious plot points is what makes it so funny!  Also helping things along is, yes, I'll admit it... Ben Stiller.  Stiller is in full-tilt gonzo mode as the maniacal White Goodman, a welcome change from the nerdy and nervous characters he so often plays.  His over-the-top antics make for a hilarious contrast to Vaughn's easygoing slacker persona. 
    So, if you've been craving something supremely idiotic, and you're not interested in seeing the latest Michael Moore exposé, then get ready for a wicked dose of comic insanity.  DodgeBall is half Zoolander, half Office Space, and half sports flick.  It may not be a smart movie, but it knows what funny is... and funny is as funny does!
Directed By:  Rawson Marshall Thurber
Written By:  Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller, Rip Torn, Justin Long,
Stephen Root, Joel Moore, Chris Williams, Alan Tudyk, Missi Pyle, Jamal Duff,
Gary Cole, Jason Bateman

MPAA:  Rated PG-13 for rude and sexual humor, and language.
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story