Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Review

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Faced with losing his gym to a corporate chain, Peter La Fleur (Vaughn) enters his ragtag clientele in the Vegas Dodgeball Tournament. But Globo Gym's White Goodman (Stiller) is hip to their plan, entering his Purple Cobras to stop them…


Dodgeball's subtitle – 'A True Underdog Story' – couldn't be more apt. When the film first appeared, it was a true underdog indeed, written off as a lesser offering from Ben Stiller's Frat Pack. Once it hit, though, it was clear that this was arguably the most quotable – and funniest – dumb comedy since The Naked Gun.

On release, all the plaudits went to Stiller's preening villain White Goodman, but this is, in truth, an ensemble movie, with the likes of Rip Torn's foul-mouthed Patches O'Houlihan ably supporting him. The movie's secret weapon, though, is Vince Vaughn's sardonic protagonist Peter LaFleur, who keeps the craziness grounded in a manner reminiscent of a young Bill Murray.

So many ideas and gags crash into each other that some are bound to miss, and there are one or two patchy spells, but it's in the melding of styles that Dodgeball works, as director Rawson Marshall Thurber blends character-based comedy with gross-out and an excellent deployment of cameos (Norris! Shatner! Hasselhoff!). Most of all, it's a tribute to the joys of physical comedy – watching people being hit in the balls has never been so much fun.

Snappy, shameless and silly, it never once drops the ball. Catch it now.