Monday, December 26, 2011

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; comedy, USA/ Germany, 2004; D: Rawson Marshall Thurber, S: Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Hank Azaria, William Shatner, David Hasselhoff, Chuck Norris

The conceited owner of an elite gym, White Goodman, wants to buy off a washed up gym right besides his, the "Average Joe gym", in order to shut it down and make a parking lot instead of it. In order to repay their debts, Peter, Justin, Gordon and others, aided by lawyer Kate, attend a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas and win the top prize, 50,000 $.

Despite a fast pace and a few hilarious jokes, this dodgeball variation of "Kingpin" is an uneven and heavy handed comedy that reaches too often for cheap, crude and banal means when setting up a punchline. There's an unwritten rule that the most outrageous comedies always ignite the biggest laughs, as opposed to more intelligent, but timid ones, yet some authors still managed to occasionally combine the best of both worlds, like the Monty Pythons, the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker trio or the Marx brothers, while "Dodgeball" does not manage to juggle with it - one of the rare instances where it proves otherwise is the already legendary Chuck Norris joke, though it does manage to be really funny in presenting some stupid jokes, such as when Gordon trains the aforementioned sport by trying to "dodge" cars on a road. Some less funny ones are just cringe worthy. Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller are in good shape, the ending is surprisingly satisfying whereas the movie should at least also be given credit for reviving the interest for dodgeball, probably one of the most underrated sports (though the European version of it is better conceived).


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