Friday, June 09, 2006


Remember, dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion, and degredation... so when you're picking players in gym class, remember to pick the bigger, stronger kids for your team, that way you can all gang up on the weaker ones - Patches O'Houlihan

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but after 2 years I finally watched Dodgeball (imbd, official site). Maybe it was my punchy mood, or perhaps it was my lowered expectations, but I thought that the film was shockingly funny and I laughed hard throughout.

Vince Vaughen plays Pete, the unsuccessful owner of Average Joe’s gym. Average Joe’s is home to a collection of misfits that resembles an adult Bad News Bears. Gym rats at Joe’s include Steve the Pirate, the awkward Owen, the love-struck high school student Justin, the ambiguous Dwight, and Gordon, who was certainly last to be picked for every elementary school sport.

As with all serious dramas, our heroes face a true challenge that tests their character. In Dodgeball, that challenge is rival gym Globo Gym operated by White Goodman. White is preparing to foreclose on Average Joe’s so that he can build a new parking lot for his mega gym. Ben Stiller’s over-the-top portrayal of White is genius, and his interaction with real-life wife Christine Taylor (Kate in the film) is hysterical.

Although I could continue to comment of the depth of character development or the complexity and unpredictability of the plot, what is special about Dodgeball is the barrage of cheap humor. It is packed with quotable lines and funny concepts like ESPN 8, “the Ocho.”

Better still, Dodgeball features a talented extended cast. Rip Torn is en fuego as coach and Dogeball legend Patches O'Houlihan. “If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.” Fans of the short-lived Herman’s Head will appreciate Hank Azaria as the young Patches. Jason Bateman (brilliant in Arrested Development) gets sharp lines as color commentator Pepper Brooks. And, William Shatner, Lance Armstrong, Chuck Norris and David Hasselhoff all have great cameos.

The Dodgeball DVD (Amazon) contains deleted scenes, an alternate ending and a handful of short featurettes.

Bonus links: the International Dodge Ball Federation and the National Amateur Dodgeball Association. Perhaps once the governing bodies agree on how to spell the name of their sport it can rise from obscurity?


At 8:12 AM, Blogger warrenjp said...

Hmmm..."The Ocho". You don't say...

Are you aware of the programming on the other ESPN offshoots?

The Tres: ESPN's amatuer artist channel; for those who can't draw freehand

The Quatro: Focused on the famous Italian families of four in the sporting world: Quatro Andretti (racing), Quattro DiMaggio (baseball), Quatro Esposito (Hockey), Quatro Formaggi (cooking)

The Cinco: Your basic competitive plumbing channel. Rooter Races, Get the Lead Out, etc.

The Seis: Inspired sports debate. Lots of "He seis; She seis" contentious banter on various sports topics.

The Siete: ESPN's adult channel featuring the celebrated series: Sex in the Siete

The Nueve: Dedicated to cutting edge, mass fan antics in large stadiums. What will those crazy fans think of next?

The Diez: An entire channel dedicated to Carmen Diez, of course


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