DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (Movie Review)

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DodgeBall, written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, stars a cast of well-established and notable comedic actors and actresses such as Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, and Christine Taylor. As simple, easy, and cliché as the story and plot is the movie offers a few strong comedic moments as well as a few decent heartwarming scenes  scattered throughout the 92-minute runtime. But other than a few moments this film seems to be off-key here and then and occasionally spotlights some weird and uncomfortable moments that take the viewer out of the plot.

I should start by pointing out that the ensemble-ish cast works very well and has very tangible screen-chemistry. Vince Vaughn who leads the cast plays a semi-depressing character (which he seems to do so often) very believably and manages to make the character charismatic and likeable. Christine Taylor plays Vaughn’s lawyer-of-sorts and eventually dodgeball-team mate, which she does very effortlessly and also makes her individual character charismatic and likeable too. On the topic of charisma and well-likability, Ben Stiller manages to make another too quirky and absolutely unbelievable character that the viewer quickly loses interest in. Stiller also has absolutely no chemistry with anyone else onscreen and it seems as if he’s taking part in an entirely different movie than the rest of the cast. Chris Williams, Joel Moore, Alan Tudyk, Stephen Root, and Justin Long play as the supporting characters of Vaughn’s dodgeball team. These actors play their own parts and individual character fairly well, but the real standout is their onscreen chemistry and how well these actors play off of each other. Rip Torn also has a smaller supporting role as their dodgeball trainer in which he helps tap into the groups onscreen chemistry as well.

The story is cliche and built so mindlessly simple, which occasionally is fine, but it just gives this unsatisfied feeling after watching the movie. But one place where I have to give credit to the film is in the individual voices that the screenplay gave the characters. Besides Stiller’s character, which I could not stand, the screenplay made a group of weird gags into believable and fun-to-watch characters. And with the few lines of dialogue some of the dodgeball players have the characters are wonderfully fleshed out and offer interesting character revelations and occasionally feature some interesting power dynamics.

Overall the film is poorly structured and features an exhausted plot that doesn’t satisfy or please even the most optimistic film-buff. But other than one poorly calculated Ben Stiller portrayal the film offer a buffet of interesting characters played by wonderfully talented actors who have great onscreen chemistry. There are okay moments in the film, but most viewers will probably come out of the film confused and struggling to remember the good jokes.

Best Aspect- Vince Vaughn and Christine Taylor’s onscreen chemistry

Worst Aspect- Ben Stiller

Rating- 5.3/10

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