DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story

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DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story
Movie poster Dodgeball A True Underdog Story.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber
Produced by Ben Stiller
Stuart Cornfeld
Written by Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring Vince Vaughn
Ben Stiller
Christine Taylor
Rip Torn
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Jerzy Zielinski
Edited by Allan E. Baumgarten
Peter Teschner
Production
  company
Red Hour Films
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • June 18, 2004 (2004-06-18)
Running time 92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Box office $167,722,310

DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, commonly referred to as DodgeBall, is a 2004 American sports comedy film produced by 20th Century Fox and Red Hour Productions, written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. The film focuses on a rivalry between the owners of Average Joe's, a small gym, and Globo-Gym, a competing big-budget gym located across the street. Peter LaFleur (Vaughn), the owner of the smaller gym, has defaulted on his mortgage and enters a dodgeball tournament in an attempt to earn the money necessary to prevent his gym from being purchased by Globo-Gym to build a new parking lot for their gym members. Globo-Gym enters a team in the tournament in an effort to ensure that Average Joe's gym fails.

DodgeBall received positive reviews, with a 70% aggregate rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[1] The film was a commercial success, grossing over $30 million in its first week and eventually grossed more than $114 million domestically.

Plot[edit]

Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) is the owner of Average Joe's, a small and financially unsuccessful gym with a handful of loyal oddball members. When he defaults on the gym's mortgage, it is purchased by his rival White Goodman (Ben Stiller), a fitness guru and owner of the successful Globo-Gym across the street. Unless Peter can raise $50,000 in thirty days to cover his mortgage, White will foreclose on Average Joe's and demolish it to build a parking garage for his gym members. Attorney Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor) is working on the transaction for White. White repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempts to charm her, and she instead develops a friendship with Peter while reviewing his financial records.

Average Joe's employees Dwight (Chris Williams) and Owen (Joel David Moore) and members Steve "the Pirate" (Alan Tudyk), Justin (Justin Long), and Gordon (Stephen Root) try to raise the money needed to save the gym. Gordon suggests that they enter a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas with a $50,000 prize. They form a team with Peter and watch a 1950s-era training video narrated by dodgeball legend "Patches" O'Houlihan (Hank Azaria). They are soundly defeated by a Girl Scout troop in a local qualifying match, but win by default when the Scouts are disqualified because of one member's steroid and beaver tranquilizer use.

White has been spying on Average Joe's using a hidden camera, and forms his own elite dodgeball team to oppose them. Peter is approached by the aging, wheelchair-bound Patches (Rip Torn), who volunteers to coach the Average Joe's team. Patches' training regimen includes throwing wrenches at the team, forcing them to dodge oncoming cars, and constantly berating them with insults. Kate demonstrates skill at the game, but declines an offer to join the team as it would be a conflict of interest owing to her contract with White. However, White arranges for her to be fired from her law firm so that dating him would not be a conflict of interest. Infuriated, Kate joins the Average Joe's team.

At the tournament in Las Vegas, Average Joe's suffers early setbacks but manages to advance to the final round against Globo-Gym. The night before the match, Patches is killed, ironically, by a fallen "Luck of the Irish" sign. This shakes Peter's confidence; he expresses his fear that the team will lose to Globo-Gym and berates Steve for his childish pirate persona, causing Steve to leave the team. White offers Peter $100,000 for the deed to Average Joe's, which Peter accepts. The day of the final round, Justin leaves to help his classmate Amber (Julie Gonzalo) with a cheerleading competition, leaving the Average Joe's team without enough members to compete. Peter has a chance encounter with Lance Armstrong, who shames him into rejoining his team, but he arrives too late: Average Joe's has already been forced to forfeit. Gordon finds a loophole in the rules: a majority of the judges can overturn the forfeiture. Chuck Norris casts the tie-breaking vote allowing the team to play.

After a fierce game, Peter and White face off in a sudden-death match to determine the winner. Inspired by a vision of Patches, Peter blindfolds himself and is able to dodge White's throw and strike him, winning the championship and the prize money. White declares the victory meaningless, since Peter had sold Average Joe's to him the previous night, but Peter reveals that he used White's $100,000 to bet on Average Joe's to win; with the odds against them at 50 to 1, he has won $5 million. He can now buy a controlling interest in Globo-Gym, which now also includes Average Joe's, and fire White. Steve returns to the group after Peter apologizes to him. He has appeared to have quit being a pirate until Peter rouses him back to his old self. Peter is dismayed when a girlfriend of Kate's, who was in the audience, kisses her passionately, but Kate then reveals that she is bisexual and kisses Peter as well. Justin also finds romance with Amber, while Owen begins dating Fran (Missi Pyle) from the Globo-Gym team. Peter opens youth dodgeball classes at a newly-renovated and now-successful Average Joe's, while White becomes obese from drowning his sorrows in junk food.

Cast[edit]

As themselves

Reception[edit]

DodgeBall received mostly positive reviews from critics, although Slant Magazine dismissed the film as "a less-than-one-joke film",[2] while TV Guide remarked that Ben Stiller "doesn't know when to stop".[3] Other critics, such as the Boston Globe, praised Stiller's satirical take on male virility and praised the chemistry between Vince Vaughn and Christine Taylor.[4] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal initially declined to review the movie, believing it was not worthy of his time. However, after reviewing the DVD, he changed his view of the movie, writing, "Mea culpa, mea culpa. Rawson Marshall Thurber's debut feature, starring Ben Stiller opposite Vince Vaughn, is erratic, imbecilic if not completely idiotic, inconsequential in even the small scheme of things, and thoroughly entertaining".[5] Roger Ebert gave the film a 3/4 star rating in his Chicago Sun-Times review and in praise writes "in a miraculous gift to the audience, 20th Century-Fox does not reveal all of the best gags in its trailer."[6] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 70% "fresh" rating out of 151 reviews, with 107 of the reviews being positive. The film was mostly praised for its "cheerfully sloppy, dumb fun" according to the website.

Box office[edit]

In its first week, the film grossed over $30 million, and would go on to a domestic gross of $114,324,072,[7] and a worldwide total of $167,722,310.[8]

Awards[edit]

Copyright lawsuit[edit]

In 2005, two New York City screenwriters, David Price and Ashoka Thomas, filed suit in federal court against Fox and Thurber, claiming copyright infringement of an unproduced screenplay they had written, DodgeBall: The Movie, by Thurber and Fox. They alleged there were a number of similarities in the plots of the two screenplays, and that Thurber may have had access to their screenplay, which was finished a month before his and submitted to an agent with whose assistant he was acquainted.[9] Lawyers for the defendants dismissed some of the allegations as coincidental. They said that both screenplays were the work of writers who used common formulaic elements. Judge Shira Scheindlin denied the defense motion for summary judgement and ordered a jury trial.[10][11] The suit was later settled out of court.[12][13]

Sequel[edit]

On April 22, 2013, it was announced that 20th Century Fox has started developing a sequel to the film, with Clay Tarver providing the screenplay and Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn attached to star.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  2. ^ "Film Review: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story accessdate=2009-06-18". Slant Magazine. 
  3. ^ "Review of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story". TV Guide. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  4. ^ Morris, Wesley (2004-06-18). "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Movie Review". Bosoton.com. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  5. ^ Morgenstern, Joe (2005-07-15). "As Fast-Talking Con Men, 'Wedding Crashers' Wilson And Vaughn Take the Cake (2005)". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  6. ^ "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  7. ^ "DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004) – Weekend Box Office Results". 
  8. ^ Official website
  9. ^ "Complaint". United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. June 2005. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  10. ^ Glaberson, William (July 22, 2007). "Dodgeballs and Jokes May Seem Too Close for Comfort". The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  11. ^ Price v. Fox Entertainment Group, 499 F. Supp. 2d 382, (S.D.N.Y., 2007).
  12. ^ "Intellectual Property". Davis & Gilbert LLP. 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011. "We successfully represented the plaintiffs in a high-profile copyright-infringement lawsuit in which two screenwriters alleged that the hit movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story infringed the copyright in their screenplay Dodgeball: The Movie." 
  13. ^ "Michael B. Carlinsky". Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011. "Represented Fox Entertainment Group, Twentieth Century Fox and other defendants against copyright infringement claims arising out of the Ben Stiller movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story ... Obtained a favorable settlement." 
  14. ^ "'Dodgeball' Sequel in the Works at Fox (Exclusive)". TheHollywoodReporter.com. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2013-07-15. 

External links[edit]