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A True Underdog Story

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is another classic tale of good vs evil. White Goodman(Ben Stiller) is the big corporate jackass, with an extra dose of stupidity. Leaving the role of the underdog, small business owner to Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn).

David and Goliath born again onscreen.

Globo Gym is a large corporate gym that wants to devour every competitor it comes across. Average Joe’s seems to be running on burnt bank notices when Globo Gym announces the buyout that will occur once Average Joe;s finally takes the plunge. In order to fend off this threat Average Joe’s, lead by Peter La Fleur, must enter a dodgeball tournament to win the ever so convenient $50,000 prize to pay the bank. In response, Globo Gym puts up a team of their own equipped with “all kinds of Azers,” creating a tournament for the ages.

Rawson Marshall Thunder skillfully crafts comedies that continue to blow the audience out of the water. Some of Thunder’s more notable films include Easy A, We’re the Millers, and Central Intelligence, all of which have a similar feel to Dodgeball. This is especially true for We’re the Millers, as it is a goofy comedy with real underlying theme’s of love and identity which are almost identical to those of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Thunder is currently working on another film Skyscraper which will be starring Dwayne Johnson as a former FBI agent. Thunder seamlessly manages to make each scene click, however he could not have done this without the help of his amazing cast.

Vince Vaughn doesn’t take on serious roles often, but when he does he leaves the audience on the edge of their seats. The role of Peter La Fleur isn’t necessarily serious, but the scenes that are require a steady hand and Vaughn proves that he has the control and range to do it. The most notable serious scene involves Peter and his team mate Steve the Pirate. I won’t go into detail, but both characters are having both an existential and identity crisis. It is as if they combined the loving ambition of Vaughn in A Cool, Dry Place with the dirty, uncaring humor of Vaughn in Old School to create the perfect mix of comedy and sternness.

Ben Stiller takes on the role of White Goodman an entrepreneur turned corporate business man. White was once an overweight, KFC munching blob who, after realizing that he wanted to change, lost all the weight and started to “help” others do the same. His vision; However, is flawed, he wants to help people on the outside instead of helping them with their real problems. Peter on the other hand just wants people to be comfortable in their own shoes. Stiller had an almost unbelievably similar role in the 1995 movie Heavyweights as the camp director for a fat camp. In both films Stiller finds himself playing a fitness health nut, guru that believes the only way to be happy is to look thin and in shape.

One aspect that truly makes Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story a fantastic movie is the cinematography. The quick shots and slow motion scenes help the movie to flow. One scene in particular puts Average Joe’s against another dodgeball team Skillz that Killz. This involves a ton of slow-motion effects and sick choreography that, when pulled off, creates a scene that immerses the viewer in the film. Making the viewer care even more about the characters involved. The music was brilliantly crafted by acclaimed composer Theodore Shapio who’s work on other films such as Devil Wears Prada, Marley and Me, and Tropic Thunder clearly proves that he knows his way around a film score. These technical elements provides the audience with a believable and fun film to enjoy.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is a tale of loss, redemption, and dreams that gives the viewer a good chuckle at the same time. It is not a deep film, but it certainly holds some deeper themes that make it a great movie, instead of a good one.


A True Underdog Story was originally published in Film Stuff on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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