DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004) Movie Review

Catherine BelyakovaDecember 24, 2019

Obnoxious White Goodman (Ben Stiller) runs the popular, ultra-modern, Globo Gym. He wants to expand his empire by taking over the struggling gym across the road, aptly named Average Joe’s. Run-down and frequented by a motley crew of out-of-shape losers it doesn’t make any money. The members use Average Joe’s as a refuge rather than a place to workout and get fit. The owner, Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn), is so laid back that he doesn’t even collect subscriptions from the few members he has. Now facing bankruptcy he has to come up with $50,000. White Goodman is ready to snap up the premises but the members of Average Joe’s aren’t going down without a fight. The only chance they have of saving the gym is to raise $50,000 by winning a Dodge-ball competition in Vegas. All they have to do is learn how to play!


This comedy tells the story of the little man against the big tycoon – ‘a true underdog story’. Nothing original about the story but this movie is about comedy and every opportunity is used to get the jokes in. No scene is wasted and judging by the audience’s reaction when I saw the movie the big laughs were there. The story was always going to take a ‘back seat’ to the zany, slapstick comedy and eccentric characters.

The humor jumps from witty, to slapstick, to crude, and isn’t always ‘politically correct’ but sometimes things are funny whether PC or not and you can’t help yourself from laughing.

The Average Joe’s dodge-ball team haven’t got a clue how to play the game and their coach’s unorthodox method of coaching includes throwing wrenches at his players; “if you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball!” He also gets them to practice by trying to dodge traffic on the motorway!

Ben Stiller really hams it up in his role as the offensive, egocentric owner of Globo Gym, White Goodman. We’re not talking about a realistic character here. Nobody could be as bad as this guy! The conversations that Goodman has with Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) are very funny as Goodman looks ridiculous beside Vaughn’s straight, laid-back, character. In fact Goodman looks ridiculous most of the time!

The coach, Patches O’Houlihan, is played by Rip Torn and as well as throwing wrenches at his players he gets to deliver a lot of funny one-liners!

Bottom Line: A funny, quirky, slapstick comedy.


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