Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
|DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rawson Marshall Thurber|
|Written by||Rawson Marshall Thurber|
|Music by||Theodore Shapiro|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$168.4 million|
The plot follows a group of misfits entering a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.
Peter LaFleur is the owner of Average Joe's Gymnasium, a small, dilapidated gym with only a few members. When he defaults on the gym's mortgage, it is purchased by White Goodman, the cocky owner of Globo Gym across the street. Unless Peter can raise $50,000 in thirty days, Goodman will foreclose on Average Joe's and demolish it to build a new auxiliary parking structure for his members. Attorney Katherine "Kate" Veatch is working on the transaction for Goodman. He attempts to seduce her; she is repulsed, but just cites conflict of interest (COI) to refuse his advances. Meanwhile, she becomes close to Peter while reviewing his financial records.
Average Joe's employees Dwight and Owen and members Steve (who acts like and truly believes he is a pirate), Justin, and Gordon try to raise the money needed to save the gym. After an unsuccessful attempt via a car wash, Gordon suggests they all enter a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas with a $50,000 prize. The team watches a 1950s-era training video narrated by dodgeball legend Patches O'Houlihan and a boy named Timmy. They are soundly defeated by a Girl Scout troop in a local qualifying match, but win by default when the Scouts are disqualified due to one member's steroid and beaver tranquilizer use.
Goodman spies on Average Joe's using a hidden camera in a cardboard cutout of himself, and forms his own dodgeball team to defeat them. Peter is approached by the aging and now wheelchair-bound Patches, who volunteers to coach the team. Patches's unusual 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 to join the team as it would be a COI. Goodman shows up at Kate's house uninvited and announces that he arranged for her to be fired from her law firm to free her from COI and allow him to date her. Enraged, but now free of COI, Kate joins the Average Joe's team.
At the tournament, Average Joe's suffers early setbacks, which include their uniforms getting accidentally mixed up with BDSM equipment in the first round, but they manage to advance to the final round against Globo Gym. The night before the match, Patches is killed by a falling sign. Anxious that the team will lose, Peter angrily tells Steve that he is not a pirate, causing Steve to leave the team. Returning to his room, Peter encounters an uninvited Goodman, who greedily offers him $100,000 for the deed to Average Joe's. The day of the final round, Justin leaves to help his classmate Amber in a cheerleading competition, leaving Average Joe's without enough members to compete. Peter has a chance encounter with Lance Armstrong, who shames him into rejoining his team, but he and Justin return too late; Average Joe's has already forfeited the match. 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 an intense game, Peter and Goodman 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 Goodman's throw and strike him in the face, winning the championship and the prize money. Goodman declares the victory meaningless, revealing that Peter sold Average Joe's to him the previous night, but Peter reveals that he used Goodman's $100,000 to bet on Average Joe's to win; with the odds against them at 50 to 1, he collects $5 million. Because Globo Gym is a publicly traded company, as Kate explains, he purchases a controlling interest in it, thus regaining Average Joe's, and fires Goodman. Steve, now with a more normal appearance, returns to the group and apologizes to Peter, but with Peter's encouragement, he quickly returns to his pirate persona when Peter shows him their winnings. Peter is shocked when Joyce, a girlfriend of Kate's, arrives and kisses her passionately, but Kate then reveals her bisexuality and kisses Peter similarly. Kate becomes Peter's lover, and Justin and Amber get married with a baby on the way, while Owen begins dating Fran from the Globo Gym team. Peter opens youth dodgeball classes at a newly renovated Average Joe's, while Goodman slides into depression and morbid obesity.
- Vince Vaughn as Peter "Pete" LaFleur
- Christine Taylor as Katherine "Kate" Veatch
- Ben Stiller as White Goodman
- Rip Torn as Patches O'Houlihan
- Hank Azaria as young Patches
- Justin Long as Justin Redman
- Stephen Root as Gordon Pibb
- Alan Tudyk as "Pirate" Steve Cowan
- Joel David Moore as Owen Dittman
- Chris Williams as Dwight Baumgarten
- Missi Pyle as Fran Stalinovskovichdaviddivichski
- Jamal Duff as Me'Shell Jones
- Gary Cole as Cotton McKnight
- Jason Bateman as Pepper Brooks
- Al Kaplon as The Referee
- William Shatner as The Dodgeball chancellor
- Julie Gonzalo as Amber
- Trever O'Brien as Derek
- Rusty Joiner as Blade
- Kevin Porter as Lazer
- Brandon Molale as Blazer
- Curtis Armstrong as Mr. Ralph
- Scarlett Chorvat as Joyce
- Lori Beth Denberg as Martha Johnstone
- Cayden Boyd as Timmy
- Bob Cicherillo as Rory (uncredited)
- Patton Oswalt as Video Store Clerk (uncredited)
- Cameo appearances
- Lance Armstrong as himself
- Chuck Norris as himself
- David Hasselhoff as himself, coach of the German team
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 whose assistant he was acquainted with. 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 judgment and ordered a jury trial. The suit was later settled out of court.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 71% based on 164 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The site's consensus reads, "Proudly profane and splendidly silly, Dodgeball is a worthy spiritual successor to the goofball comedies of the 1980s." On Metacritic the film has a score of 55 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Slant Magazine dismissed the film as "a less-than-one-joke film", while TV Guide remarked that Ben Stiller "doesn't know when to stop". 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. Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal initially declined to review the film, believing it was not worthy of his time. However, after reviewing the DVD, he changed his view, 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". Roger Ebert gave the film a three stars out of four rating in his Chicago Sun-Times review and writes "in a miraculous gift to the audience, 20th Century-Fox does not reveal all of the best gags in its trailer."
- 2004 ESPY Awards
- Best Sports Movie – Nominated
- 2005 BMI Awards
- Best Film Music, Theodore Shapiro – Won
- 2005 MTV Movie Awards
- Best Comedic Performance, Ben Stiller – Nominated
- Best On-Screen Team (Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Justin Long, Alan Tudyk, Stephen Root, Joel Moore and Chris Williams) – Nominated
- Best Villain, Ben Stiller – Won
- 25th Golden Raspberry Awards
On April 22, 2013, it was announced that 20th Century Fox has started developing a sequel to the film, with Clay Tarver writing the script and Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn returning to star. However Ben Stiller has since stated that he wasn't aware a Dodgeball sequel was happening. A reunion video featuring the cast was released online in June 2017, announcing a competition to raise funds for the Stiller Foundation.
ESPN8: The Ocho
On August 8, 2017, ESPN paid homage to its lampooned portrayal in Dodgeball by airing a day-long "ESPN8: The Ocho" marathon on its college sports channel ESPNU. In the spirit of the programming depicted in the film, it consisted of lesser-known and unconventional sports and competitions—including trampoline dodgeball, darts, disc golf, kabaddi, and roller derby. The stunt was reprised the following two years on ESPN2, and also included airings of Dodgeball.
Due to a lack of live sports programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, ESPN announced on March 22, 2020 it would reprise the stunt earlier than scheduled on ESPN2. It did it on May 2, 2020 on ESPN, and then August 8, 2020 on ESPN2 and Fortnite Party Royale as well.
The DVD and Blu-ray releases all contain various outtakes and deleted scenes including an alternate ending as well as an infamous ‘Easter Egg’ in the form of a spoof director's commentary.
The directors commentary track starts out in the traditional fashion with the director and co-stars but soon adds in extra characters and descends into a largely unrelated comedy experience. Halfway through a seemingly chaotic recording, it stops and is replaced by the directors' commentary for There's Something About Mary.
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- "Complaint". United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. June 2005. Archived from the original on April 16, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- Glaberson, William (July 22, 2007). "Dodgeballs and Jokes May Seem Too Close for Comfort". The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- Price v. Fox Entertainment Group, 499 F. Supp. 2d 382, (S.D.N.Y., 2007).
- "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.
- "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.
- "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) – Weekend Box Office Results".
- Official website "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 22, 2004. Retrieved June 21, 2004.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Dodgeball – A True Underdog Story". rottentomatoes.com. June 18, 2004.
- "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story". Metacritic.
- "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015.
- "Film Review: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on March 24, 2009. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
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- Morgenstern, Joe (July 15, 2005). "As Fast-Talking Con Men, 'Wedding Crashers' Wilson And Vaughn Take the Cake (2005)". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 14, 2009.
- Ebert, Roger (June 18, 2004). "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
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- "ESPN8 'The Ocho' is back, normally you have to pay double for that kind of action, Cotton". AL.com. March 19, 2020. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
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