July 4, 2004

Dodgeball

Bull is in town for the 4th and we needed something to do on the evening of the 3rd, so a wonderful idea occurred to me. Park at the Providence Place Mall, walk to Trinity Brewhouse, patronize that establishment until well lubricated, then crawl stumble walk back to the mall and catch a movie. I let Bull pick the film and he wisely chose Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, a film that is enhanced by pre-viewing lubrication. It was a good time.

Trinity offered decent dinner fare and great beer, as usual. We particularly appreciated the IPA and Red Ale.

On to the film. It’s as funny as a bag of wrenches. That is, if Rip Torn is sitting in a wheelchair, throwing said wrenches at Vince Vaughn and his gang. Vince plays the same basic character he’s come to play in films of this type (see Old School ). His straight delivery and good comic timing enhances the zaniness around him. The goofy cast of characters is well-stocked with sad sacks. Stephen Root (Milton, from Office Space ) is a middle-aged cuckold with a mail-order bride who hates him. Alan Tudyk thinks he’s a pirate. Justin Long (also seen in Galaxy Quest as the uber-fan who helps save the day) is the high school student with dreams of cheerleading.

The group is inevitably joined by Christine Taylor because the formulaic love interest who can throw a mean dodgeball must be present.

Ben Stiller is the over-the-top villain who drives the plot. As a fat-obsessed gym-owner who wants to buy Vaughn’s “Average Joes” gym, he exudes a manic creepiness and throws off nonsensical gotcha quotes left and right.

“Nobody makes me bleed my own blood. NOBODY.

and

“You’re going down like a sweet muffin!”

The sad sacks try to save their gym by competing for money in a Vegas dodgeball tourney. But they’re seriously deficient until they catch the eye of Rip Torn as “Patches O’Houlihan.” He’s got my favorite line from the film. “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!”

In the mix are a number of funny cameos (which I won’t reveal) and decent small performances by folks like Jason Bateman as an air-headed sportscaster, Jamal Duff as Stiller’s assistant, a big bouncer-type fellow oddly named Me’Shell, and William Shatner as the Chancellor of Dodgeball.

Sure, this film is all formula and doesn’t break any new comedic ground. But, dammit, it’s funny seeing people get belted with wrenches and balls, and there are enough funny lines and Vince Vaughnery to keep you in stitches.

Posted by James at July 4, 2004 12:03 PM
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