“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” – Patches O’Houlihan
That’s just one of the endless memorable one-liners found in 2004’s Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. I’ve seen this so many times, but not in recent years, and I couldn’t ignore the fact that this is a loved comedy film – one of the many coming out in the early years of the new millennium. My one question remains…how is Will Ferrell not in this movie? It has his name written all over it! Comedy is subjective, though. There has never been a universally funny movie, and I don’t think this is any exception, but I personally love it. So let’s get into it.
White Goodman (Ben Stiller) is the owner and founder of Globo Gym, and would love nothing more than owning Average Joe’s Gymnasium. Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) doesn’t want to lose his gym to Goodman, but can’t find a way to get $50,000 in time. Peter and his gang of gym buddies think of ways to raise money, finally settling on winning a dodge ball tournament. White Goodman retaliates by creating his own dodge ball team to finish off Peter. Peter’s team doesn’t do too well, until legendary ADAA champ Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn) turns up ready to train them. Written by FilmFanUK (IMDb)
The foundation to the plot is eerily similar to Good Burger. You have the business of weirdo friends that just want to have a good time and not stress about life and next door, Mondo Burger is a big, flashy, expensive burger joint that is looking to shut Good Burger down, that is…unless they do something about it first. The only real difference is the method upon how they decide on “doing something”. In this film, it’s participating in an over-the-top hilarious Dodgeball tournament. Everything about this movie is classic that it’s extremely hard for me not to like it.
I can’t think of a character in this movie that isn’t uniquely hilarious, as well as being hilarious as a team. The Average Joes and Globo Gym are the main players, and while each of the players are incredible all on their own, so are all the random teams they go against. The police team, the football team, the girl scouts, the rappers, the list goes on. It’s so absurd and ridiculous, but you just can’t get enough. Then, of course, the commentators who are still featured in internet memes today. I sure like memes, Cotton! It’s so difficult for any movie to handle so much focus on multiple characters like this, but somehow, this random comedy does so brilliantly.
Then, as mentioned above, the dialogue is unforgettable. To give you an idea, IMDb currently has 133 quotes from Dodgeball, which is more than their most popular film of all time, The Shawshank Redemption – which from my recollection of it, has a lot of great quotes in it as well…hmm…I should probably review that at some point.
My point is, Dodgeball is far from a perfect movie. The plot itself is pretty simple because it wanted to focus more on the humor than story progression. It also has a problem introducing meaningful conversations or emotions from the actors – but that was hardly the point. That just means it isn’t entirely well balanced. Maybe if it was more balanced, more people would love it. For me, though, the humor, characters, and one-liners this film has to offer is first class and worth it. Check it out!