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Published on June 19th, 2008 | by simeon

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Dodgeball

The classic schoolyard game of Dodge ball is lovingly satirized in the new oddball comedy “Dodge ball: a True Underdogs Story” with often hilarious results. For those of you who are not familiar with the game, it involves two sets of players facing off against one another armed with red rubber balls. The object is to hot the others teams players with the balls and avoiding being hit yourself. If you are hot or a ball you have thrown is caught you are out, and play continues until all the members of one side have been vanquished.

The story centers around Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) and likeable if not very motivated owner of a local gym whose laid back approach to collecting dues and dealing with his clients have made him very popular. Unfortunately, it has also landed Peter into some severe financial hardships which manifest themselves when Peter is informed that unless he comes up with $50,000 in thirty days, then his gym will become the property of a rival mega-gym and closed.

Desperate to save his Gym, Peter is advised by some members to enter a national Dodge ball competition in Las Vegas, as it has a $50,000 prize that will enable him to save their beloved gym. Naturally this plan does not sit well with flamboyant owner of the mega gym White Goodman (Ben Stiller), as he wants Peter’s gym to become his new parking garage as well as woe the lovely banker Kate (Christine Taylor), who is assigned to help Peter arrange his financial records. Goodman is even further enraged when Kate rejects his advances and casts her lot with Peter and his crew.

Goodman assembles the nastiest team of unstoppable Dodge ball players ever assembled and is intent on crushing Peter and his crew once and for all.

A small beacon of light emerges for the beleaguered Peter when a former Dodge ball legend, Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn), arrives and teaches the guys the finer points of the game using some severe training methods.

What sets the film apart from other stories of the lovable losers is the great supporting work of Torn and Taylor they play very well against Vaughn and Stiller especially Taylor who seems to be having a blast playing against her real-life husband.

The matches are well played and mix humor and tension well. Especially the climatic match that unfolds in a surprising manner complete with a few red herrings and twists that will surprise and delight the audience.

There are also some great celebrity cameos in the film that add a nice touch, but what really makes the film shine is the good chemistry amongst the cast and the humor. The cast seems to be having a blast making this film and if you do not expect to much in the way of a plot, then you will likely find yourself laughing along and itching to take the Dodge ball court again yourself.

3.5 stars out of 5


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