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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

From crude jokes, to truly laughable “action” sequences to an incredible story of perseverance, Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story has something for everyone. Thurber’s story, if stripped of its insanity, is quite simple: a group of individuals whose place of work is in danger of being taken over by lilliputian gym owner, White Goodman (Ben Stiller), fight to keep their hopes and dreams alive by preserving their place of solace. With the addition of dodgeball as a means to save their gym, the birth of ESPN 8 “The Ocho” and the ridiculous rollercoaster-esque ride the audience is taken on ultimately created a well-layered story that, by the end, actually touches the viewers. The ride begins bumpy and almost awkwardly as we see Average Joe’s boss, Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn), lead his band of misfits into battle against trained athletes and groups of miscreants to fight for their livelihood and ends in monumental fashion with LaFleur putting his body on the line to complete this epic journey. From beginning to end, Vaughn and Stiller work well to keep the audience engaged and wanting more. The banter between characters, particularly between Goodman and anyone he crosses paths with, add a dimension of intelligence to the dialogue. Being able to birth such insane lines of discourse is a talent that made for a lot of fun. The dialogue made relatively unknown actors, such as Stephen Root and Chris Williams shine. They were relatable in odd ways, they were funny and they ultimately gave more character to the film than would have been possible with only big names actors like Vaughn, Stiller and Christine Taylor. They added more layers to the cast, the story and the overall excitement of the film. The dialogue, the comedy and the acting all drew in the audience, but, ultimately it is the camaraderie that perfectly connects every aspect of the film and makes it worth watching. Much of the story is silly, but it is, in my opinion, one of the best comedies of the twentieth century.



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