DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Rawson Marshall Thurber
Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Joel Moore, Chris Williams, Alan Tudyk, Missi Pyle, Jamal Duff, Gary Cole, Jason Bateman
Writing Credits:
Rawson Marshall Thurber

A true underdog story.

You'll dodge, duck, dip, dive ... and laugh out loud watching Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller settle their differences in a winner-take-all dodgeball competition. Under the painful tutelage of legendary ADAA champ, Patches O'Houlihan (Rip Torn), Peter LaFleur (Vaughn) and his Average Joes take on the Purple Cobras, led by egomaniacal fitness guru, White Goodman (Stiller). It's an over-the-top underdog tale filled with hilarious sight gags and balls-out fun!

Box Office:
$20 million.
Opening Weekend
$30.070 million on 2694 screens.
Domestic Gross
$114.324 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 12/7/2004

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rawson Marshall Thurber and Actors Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller
• Hidden Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rawson Marshall Thurber
• Deleted/Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary
• “DodgeBall Boot Camp” Featurette
• “The Anatomy of a Hit” Featurette
• “Justin Long: A Study in Ham and Cheese” Featurette
• “DodgeBall: Go for the Gold” Featurette
• Bloopers/Gag Reel
• Trailers
• Easter Eggs


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 12, 2004)

When DodgeBall hit the screens in the summer of 2004 with its “a true underdog story” slogan, that line didn’t apply solely to the movie’s plot. The flick itself proved to be the little picture that could. Faced with the crowded summer marketplace, DodgeBall took in $114 million, a more than solid gross for a relatively low-budget little comedy.

At the start of DodgeBall, we meet White Goodman (Ben Stiller), the operator of the aggressive, arrogant, smug and superior Globo Gym. Then we encounter Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn), the owner of Average Joe’s Gym, a spot across the street from Globo. The underachieving Peter caters to nerds too embarrassed to work out elsewhere.

Loan problems interfere and Peter learns he needs to pay off his $50,000 mortgage within 30 days or he’ll lose the gym. He gets the bad news from sexy attorney Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor) and soon finds out that Goodman wants to buy Average Joe’s. He bought out the mortgage to get rid of his foe Peter. High school student and Average Joe’s member Justin (Justin Long) rallies the troops to try to raise the money, as it’s really sole workout refuge for the losers.

They make some attempts but don’t bring in much money, and Peter seems willing to give up and lose the joint. However, member and obscure sports fan Gordon (Stephen Root) proposes they play DodgeBall to earn the cash. There’s a tournament in Las Vegas that will pay $50,000 to the winners, so they pursue this contest to save the gym.

Matters complicate due to a few factors. Both White and Peter try to romance Kate, but since Goodman repulses her, she helps the Average guys. White also spies on Average Joe’s and decides to get into DodgeBall to stop them. Joe’s guys luck into the tournament but aren’t very good until dodgeball legend Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn) becomes their coach. He trains them as they head into competition, and Kate eventually joins the team due to her terrific throwing arm. The second half of the flick covers the tournament as well as some interpersonal relationships and complications.

DodgeBall barely qualifies as a live-action flick. Sure, it features human actors in every role, but it owes a lot more to Looney Tunes than any other inspiration. An extremely broad comedy, it showcases lots of slapstick and gets most of its humor from those elements.

This makes it a very hit or miss flick. Of course, not everything deals with violent comedy, but the movie mostly focuses on pretty “lowest common denominator” jokes. Actually, it can be a bizarre mix of highbrow and lowbrow humor. One minute we’ll see guys hit with wrenches, and the next will present a reference to Lewis Carroll.

Some of the gags hit home, but a lot fall flat. Part of the problem comes from the absurd number of “ball” gags. Testicle puns abound in this movie, and they get old pretty quickly. How many plays on the word “ball” can one film contain? Skillions, apparently, as the movie never tires of these puns.

Various references fly fast and furious here, and you’ll need a scorecard to keep up with them. These help layer the flick and make it richer. It’s hard to dislike a flick with a David Hasselhoff cameo in which he plays the coach of the German team, and a character who believes he’s a pirate doesn’t hurt its quirky factor.

That’s the hard part to reconcile. One moment, DodgeBall offers clever, fresh gags, whereas two seconds later, it’ll go for the cheapest, lamest bits one can imagine. All of these add up to an inconsistent movie. It provides some good laughs and general entertainment but doesn’t ignite on a dependable basis.

End credits footnote: stick it out to the finish for a disgusting closing bit.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B+

DodgeBall appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. F or the most part, the picture looked excellent, but a few small concerns knocked it below “A” level.

Sharpness seemed solid as a whole. A few wide shots displayed a smidgen of softness, but those issues caused no real problems. Instead, the movie almost always appeared crisp and detailed. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, but I did notice a little light edge enhancement at times. As for print flaws, the image looked clean most of the time. I saw a couple of specks but otherwise no blemishes occurred.

As one might expect from a cartoony comedy, DodgeBall enjoyed a vivid palette, and the DVD displayed those tones nicely. Colors appeared bright and vibrant throughout the movie. I saw no issues related to noise, bleeding, or other problems. Black levels came across as deep and dense, and shadow detail seemed fine for the most part, but a few low-light scenes were slightly murky. Ultimately, DodgeBall looked quite good.

While the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of DodgeBall featured no noticeable flaws, it didn’t score high due to a moderate lack of ambition. The soundfield remained oriented toward the forward channels. Music showed solid stereo imaging, while the mix also offered general ambience that spread nicely across the front. The surrounds contributed general reinforcement most of the time. They displayed light support for the music and effects, and they kicked into gear a bit more strongly during a few sequences. Not surprisingly, it was the dodgeball games that used the rear speakers the most vividly. Nothing exceptional occurred, but the surrounds added some spice to the mix.

Audio quality appeared positive. Speech came across as natural and warm, though some minor edginess occurred at times. Effects played a modest role in the flick, but they consistently sounded clean and accurate, with acceptable low-end response when appropriate. Music seemed clear and bright, with decent dynamic range as well. Little about the DodgeBall soundtrack stood out, but it appeared fine for this kind of film.

When we examine the package’s supplements, we begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber plus actors Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. All three sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. A light affair, the trio covers a mix of general topics. We get notes about the shoot as well as various inspirations for characters, gags and other elements. We hear about cut sequences, story changes, and different development issues. Frankly, I can’t say I think you’ll learn a lot from the commentary, but it remains consistently engaging. The guys make it amusing, especially when they harp about - and violate - the restrictions placed on them in regard to references to non-Fox flicks. It’s an insubstantial but entertaining track.

Next we see seven deleted/extended scenes plus an alternate ending. Taken together, the seven clips fill eight minutes, 50 seconds, while the ending goes for 81 seconds. The emphasis on the first batch should be “extended”, as the majority pad existing sequences. Some small character moments pop up along with comedic elements like the “Shame Triangle”.

The alternate ending takes a radical change of pace compared to what we actually get. It’s so different that I really find it tough to believe it was ever considered. We can watch the snippets with or without commentary from Thurber. He tells us a little about the scenes and explains why they got the boot. Thurber claims he truly fought for the alternate ending, but I couldn’t help but feel he was joking; that conclusion would have been cool in an off-putting, startling way, but it’s not sensible for this sort of movie.

The disc includes four separate featurettes. DodgeBall Boot Camp: Training for DodgeBall lasts three minutes, 27 seconds and presents movie snippets, behind the scenes shots, and interviews. We hear from Vaughn, stunt coordinator Alex Daniels, and actors Justin Long, Stephen Root, Alan Tudyk, Christine Taylor, and Chris Williams. They talk about the physical rigors of all the DodgeBall practice and shooting. It’s a little tongue in cheek but offers some fun tidbits.

After this comes The Anatomy of a Hit. The three-minute, 21-second piece includes notes from Thurber, Stiller, Long, Vaughn, and Root. They discuss the pain involved with all the DodgeBall hits as well as the best parts of the body to assault for comedic purposes. It’s another short but entertaining clip.

Up next we get the three-minute and 32-second Justin Long: A Study in Ham and Cheese. It shows outtakes of Long. One offers a long take in which he psychs himself up for his cheerleading tryout. We also see various snippets of Long as he gets hit with objects and does other broad takes. It’s not too dissimilar from a blooper reel, but it’s a neat piece.

For the final featurette, DodgeBall: Go for the Gold lasts 78 seconds with remarks from Stiller and Vaughn. Just a promo, they talk about dodgeball as an Olympic sport. It’s mildly amusing.

The DVD tosses in a Bloopers/Gag Reel that presents the usual goofs and giggles. It’s nothing special.

Two DodgeBall trailers pop up as well as ads for The Ringer and Arrested Development. The DVD opens with a few promos. We get a general spot for some Fox flicks and a DodgeBall-specific clip for Pauly Shore Is Dead. We also get Inside Look with its preview of Elektra.

The flick includes one Easter egg, and it’s a creative one. Click on the “Purple Cobras” logo in the “Special Features” menu and you’ll get instructions. Whenever White snaps his fingers during the movie, press “enter” and you’ll get to see a mix of features. Most are just minor outtakes and video bits, but to my surprise, we also find a bonus commentary! And not just a short one - director Thurber presents a full-length track in which he discusses the movie.

To access this, find the “snap” that occurs at the end of the Dirty Sanchez sequence around the 34-minute mark. In the piece, Thurber covers some of the same material heard in the main commentary, with notes on the shoot, the script, and the cast. The best parts show up early, as Thurber lets us know the story’s path to the screen. It’s more ordinary after that, and he does repeat some notes we already heard in the first track. Nonetheless, this is a pretty good piece; it seems bizarre that it’s available only as an Easter egg.

For those with DVD-ROM drives, a couple more elements appear. In addition to a link to the movie’s website, we can access the flick’s screenplay. This doesn’t present the usual “script to screen” comparison, as it’s a simple text presentation. Since the film includes a fair amount of improvisations, it’s fun to be able to look at the material as originally written.

A surprise hit, DodgeBall offers a moderate amount of entertainment. The movie jumps between clever bits and cheap gross-out gags, which makes it only sporadically amusing. The DVD presents very good picture and audio plus some nice extras highlighted by the most substantial Easter egg I’ve ever found. DodgeBall lacks the evenness to turn into a great movie, but it’s reasonably fun.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.4888 Stars Number of Votes: 45
4 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.