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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story(2004)
You'll dodge, duck, dip, dive... and laugh out loud watching Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller settle their differences in a winner-take-all dodgeball competition. Under the painful tutelage of legendary ADAA champ, Patches O'Houlihan (Rip Torn), Peter LaFleur (Vaughn) and his Average Joes take on the Purple Cobras, led by egomaniacal fitness guru, White Goodman (Stiller). It's an over-the-top underdog tale filled with hilarious sight gags and balls-out fun!
For more about Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and the Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Blu-ray release, see Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on December 16, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Rip Torn
» See full cast & crew
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Blu-ray Review
Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!
Reviewed by Ben Williams, December 16, 2008
Writer / Director Rawson Marshall Thurber made quite a name for himself back in 2003, when his enormously popular "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker" commercials won over millions of fans during Super Bowl XXXVII. As evidenced through these well-received commercials, Thurber displayed a keen comedic sensibility and a knack for creating situations that put ordinary people in ridiculous situations. Actor/ Producer Ben Stiller took immediate notice of Thurber's burgeoning talent and quickly signed the young auteur to create a comedic sports film. Thus, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story was born. The film was initially laughed off by most of Hollywood's insiders as being a sure-fire bomb, despite its impressive cast. Upon release, however, Dodgeball attracted a massive following that delivered huge box-office numbers and critical praise. Not too shabby, for a low budget flick about a non-traditional sport
Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) is not having a good month. His gym, Average Joe's, is under foreclosure, he's broke and competing gym-owner White Goodman (Ben Stiller) is making his life a living hell. As Peter breaks the foreclosure news to his most devoted customers, Justin (Justin Long), Gordon (Steven Root), Owen (Joel Moore), Dwight (Chris Williams) and Steve the Pirate (Alan Tudyk), they discover that the $50,000 Peter needs to save the business can be won by playing professional Dodgeball. The problem is, none of them know how to play the game. Fortunately, legendary Dodgeballer, Patches O'Houlihan (Rip Torn) and Peter's Banker, Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor), might just hold the keys to training the wayward team of hopeful competitors. Together, they'll have to travel to the International Dodgeball Championship in Las Vegas to take on White Goodman's own professional Dodgeball team, The Purple Cobras. It's their last chance to win the money, save the gym and, hopefully, deliver a little payback.
Dodgeball is fantastically entertaining and endlessly witty, with razor-sharp dialogue and literally dozens of memorable scenes and quotable lines. Rawson Marshall Thurber has accomplished something nearly impossible in the world of film, by taking a concept that almost no one was interested in and turning it into a film that continues to be quoted and talked about. The film is filled with little asides and throwaway jokes that make repeat viewing essential. I've seen Dodgeball dozens of times, yet I always walk away from each viewing having caught some new comedic gem that had remained hidden on earlier viewings.
The film benefits from consistently excellent performances from the entire cast. Ben Stiller deserves a lot of praise here, as he never shies away from playing unlikable characters to the nth degree; never having a second thought about making himself the butt of every joke. His White Goodman is notable for being devoid of any intellectual qualities, scathingly sexist, superficial and downright annoying in every way. Stiller seems to relish every scene; making White such a horrible and loathsome character, that the audience has no choice but to root for his failure. It's terrific stuff. Vince Vaughn continues his winning formula of portraying fast-talking wise-asses and manages to make Peter La Fluer amount to a bit more than the one-note nice guy he could have been. Be sure to be on the lookout for a number of outstanding cameos throughout the movie. Unlike most films, these cameos actually have a point, rather than existing as an excuse to put a big name star in a forced scenario. Dodgeball is a terrific comedy that delivers laughs on a grand scale. Highly recommended!
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Blu-ray, Video Quality
Fox has given Dodgeball their typical AVC Mpeg-4 treatment and have delivered a nice 1080p Blu-ray encode in the film's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Dodgeball was a low budget film, so it's of little surprise that the movie can, at times, show its budget limitations throughout this presentation. There is a noticeable amount of grain present, but it remains consistent and never gratuitous. The film's color palette is muted for most of the film, but occasional flashes of nicely saturated colors shine through in the yellow Average Joe's team uniforms as well as in the film's final Dodgeball Championship scenes. Contrast is generally quite good and black levels are nicely presented, if occasionally crushed. Detail isn't particularly amazing, though, but it does seem to be a stylistic choice rather than the fault of the encode. All told, Dodgeball might not be perfect demo material, but it's never looked better than on this Blu-ray edition.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Fox remains consistent in their commitment to using DTS HD-Master Audio on all of their releases. Dodgeball features a nice mix in the lossless format that accurately re- creates the theatrical experience while maintaining a little punch when required. The film is primarily dialogue driven and the majority of the movie is confined to the front three channels of the 5.1 mix. Dialogue is well presented; always intelligible and never garbled. It's precisely what one should expect from a lossless soundtrack of a comedy. Whenever the film veers into scenes of competitive Dodgeball, the mix opens up to reveal a surprising amount of ambient and surround activity. There's a nice sense of spatial atmosphere in these scenes, as dodgeballs whiz around the court and make contact with players' faces in a resounding thud felt through the LFE channel. This dodgeball-impact sound effect is played to great comedic effect throughout the film. All told, Dodgeball isn't ever going to rival the best surround experiences on Blu-ray. It does, however, do a fantastic job of taking limited source material and delivering it in the best quality imaginable.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
-Audio Commentary with Rawson Marshall Thurber, Ben Stiller & Vince Vaughn
-Bloopers / Gag Reel
Dodgeball arrives on Blu-ray sporting a limited number of extra features. The single worthwhile option on the disc the feature-length commentary with Mr. Thurber, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. It's an entertaining track, to say the least, with each participant contributing an additional level of comedy to what's present in the film. Unfortunately, the deleted and extended scenes offer little replay value and the Gag Reel / Bloopers are of pretty standard issue. While I enjoyed the commentary, that's about all that's worth watching in this slightly disappointing set of supplements.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is, in reality, an underdog story in and of itself. The film faced low expectations and went on to attain box-office and critical success while establishing itself as a modern comedy classic. Making its debut on Blu-ray, the film looks great despite its lower budget production. Sound is also impressive, while the supplements are a bit lacking. Ultimately, Dodgeball is a winner on Blu-ray due to the film's unlimited replay value. It's a terrifically entertaining movie that earns my highest recommendation!
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story: Other Editions
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