Anthony's Film Review
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
Finally, a fun but overlooked sport gets the big-screen treatment...
If you ask me what my favorite sport was in school, it wasn't basketball, softball, football, or any of the major sports. It was dodgeball. Any sport can be fun, but there's just something really amusing about avoiding rubber balls being hurled your way. Maybe it's the lack of the injury factor, which I preferred. Or maybe it's the funny factor. I remember moments when some poor unsuspecting opponents gets hit below the waist and is out of the game. They were especially funny when they involved one of the slower players.
With that in mind, you could easily make a comedy film about dodgeball. Such a film, starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stille, has finally been released in 2004. The film is OK but still funny, and it certainly brought back my fond memories of the sport. The story is simple. Peter La Fleur (Vaughn) and White Goodman (Stiller) are rivals at different gyms. Peter is the nice guy at a local gym while White is the testosterone-filled muscle man who runs the Globo Gym. They each form their own teams and eventually compete in a dodgeball tournament.
What's interesting is how the movie brings the sport of dodgeball to the level of professional athletics. Peter and his gang consult a dodgeball guru during training. Imagine that. A legendary figure who has played a sport the majority could care less about. Then when it's time for the big event, there are dodgeball games broadcast on cable TV. Imagine that ESPN has expanded to at least eight different channels. In this movie, dodgeball games are on the eighth channel ("ESPN: The Ocho").
There are plenty of funny scenes, just enough of them to make Dodgeball a decent comedy. Some of them involve getting hit with rubber balls or other flying objects. I especially remember the training scene where wrenches, not balls, are thrown at the trainees. Also, Ben Stiller plays White Goodman in an over-the-top but amusing way when he's acting totally macho. Even so, the character does, unexpectedly, have a weakness for junk food.
Dodgeball is simply 90 minutes of pure fun. For some of you, you might like the physical and verbal comedy that I just mentioned. For me, I enjoyed the film mainly for its interesting take on my favorite childhood sport. It took me back to those fun days, but not so much that I was completely distracted. Still, it does seem like a good time to revive this sport. Now, if you think this is just way off-topic, go ahead and throw whatever you want at me. Just as long as you don't hurl any wrenches.
For more information about Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, visit the Internet Movie Database.