There have been a lot of sports comedies over the years. Some have been memorable like 1989's Major League and some have been horrendous like 1998's Baseketball. But there has never been a sports comedy based on a game we all used to play in high school gym.
Dodgeball begins when White Goodman (Ben Stiller), owner of gym-juggernaut Globo-Gym, hires bank employee Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor) to take over Average Joe's, a neighborhood gym owned by Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn).
It turns out that Peter and his socially-challenged members have 30 days to come up with $50,000 or watch their past time be demolished to give way for a Globo-Gym parkade.
It is an insurmountable task but their saving grace may come in the form of a professional "dodgeball" tournament in Las Vegas. Ok, they don't have a chance. Or do they?
When you make a film like Dodgeball you really have to have a great villain and Ben Stiller's White Goodman is the perfect comedy villain. He seems to be an amalgamation of several other Stiller characters mixed with an insane health freak. But the combination turns into pure comic genius.
Vince Vaughn plays the film's hero and his portrayal has a lot in common with his leading character in 2003's Old School. He tries to help all these social rejects find their place in the world. This time he is more laid back than he was in Old School, as he plays his hero with flawed compassion.
The film's group of misfits includes Rip Torn (Men in Black), Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers), Stephen Root (TV's Newsradio), and Alan Tudyk (TV's Firefly). Each one of these lovable losers has their key moment throughout the film.
There are a lot of great cameos from the likes of David Hasselhoff, William Shatner, Chuck Norris, Gary Cole, and Jason Bateman.
There are a lot of laughs in the film but sometimes when the laughs subside and we are left with Stiller's ranting, the joke wears thin. The problem with making a film like this is that you have to focus primarily on the jokes and forget about a message or deeper feelings. Basically what you have is a sports comedy mixed with Revenge of the Nerds. In the heat of the summer season that really isn't all bad.
Dodgeball is a great "leave-your-brain-at-the-door" comedy but that is about all. (3 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.