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Dodgeball: A True Underdog StoryThe truth is, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story ain't no true underdog story. If it were, Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) and the scrum of losers who...Dodgeball: A True Underdog StoryComedyPT96MPG-13The truth is, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story ain't no true underdog story. If it were, Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) and the scrum of losers who...2004-06-25Jason BatemanBrooke BurkeJustin LongChristine TaylorRip TornJason Bateman, Brooke Burke, Justin Long, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Ben Stiller, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

(Dodgeball: Tracey Bennett)

B+

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Genre: Comedy; Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Brooke Burke, Justin Long, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn; Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber; Author: Rawson Marshall Thurber; Release Date Wide: 06/18/2004; Status: In Season; Runtime (in minutes): In Season; MPAA Rating: In Season; Distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

The truth is, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story ain’t no true underdog story. If it were, Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) and the scrum of losers who hang out at Average Joe’s Gym would never beat the pumped-up Globo Gym clones assembled by fitness magnate White Goodman (Ben Stiller) in a Las Vegas dodgeball showdown. (For pathos, the $50,000 winner’s pot is just enough to save Average Joe’s from foreclosure.)

The truth is, this slap-happy send-up of the whole sniffly underdog sports-movie genre, written and directed with a change-up pitch of whizzy aggression and bouncy merriness by Rawson Marshall Thurber, is hilariously fake and rude. And thus true and tonic, if you know what I mean. Stiller once again plays a preening SOB, but there is something in the chemistry of his crazy-eyed vanity (set off by a feathered coif and an artificially inflated codpiece) in combustion with Vaughn’s lower-keyed, underachiever sanity that at once aerates and focuses Stiller’s pugnacity. For added combustibility, Rip Torn plays a sewer-mouthed retired dodgeball legend who returns, in a wheelchair, to coach the Average Joes into glory. Direct hit!

Originally posted June 25 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT

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