20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 92 mins .
M15+ . PAL
It's gotta be the hair.
When Average Joes gym, run by average Peter La Fluer (Vince Vaughn), is about to go under, the mortgage is bought out by a competing gymnasium giant in Globo Gym; They're better than you, and they know it. Peter and his band of merry men have to come up with $50,000 or their gym becomes a multi-level parking lot for the Globo Gym clients across the street.
When all else fails, the group resorts to entering the Dodgeball Championships, which coincidently has a 1st prize of $50,000 cash. Sounds too good to be true, but after all this is a true underdog story. When White Goodman (Ben Stiller) gets wind of this even, he enlists his own super-team of Purple Cobras to make sure the Average Joes don't get anywhere near the winnings.
The 5 Ds.
Ever since a bunch of opium addicted monks devised a game of tossing severed heads at each other, the game of Dodgeball has grown to become one of the most popular sports in the world; according to the ADAA (American Dodgeball Association of America). The rules are simple, 6 players per side, 6 rubber balls. If you get hit with a ball, you're out. If you catch a ball, the other person is out and one of your own players comes back into the game. Pretty simple, very funny.
Now, whilst the plot seems plainly simple and the outcome blatantly obvious, your appetite for ball-hits-face and ball-hits-groin is increased and with this outing of slapstick you are definitely not disappointed. But it doesn't end there. Stiller plays one of his better roles that this reviewer has had the ability to endure and comes off as the vain entrepenaur who created Globo Gym single handedly with he himself being it's biggest customer and greatest success story. His ego just shines through every crack the plot may have.
K.I.T.T. - Get me outta this movie.
The supporting cast is an ensemble itself with the likes of Stephen Root as the ESPN8 sports fan with his subscription to OSQ, Obscure Sports Quarterly. Alan Tyduk is having an identity crisis as Steve the Pirate and Christine Taylor is originally hired by Goodman to oversee the acquisition of Average Joes but soon cracks under the weight of Whites lustful advances and joins the Average Joes team in retaliation. Then there's the two fold attack of the brave young version of Patches O'Hoolihan played by Hank Azaria with the retired senile veteran version by Rip "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball" Torn.
A personal favorite has to be the combination of Gary Cole and Jason Bateman as the EPSN 8 "The Ocho" Dodgeball commentators. The hilarity that ensues is unbelievable; I just don't believe it. Cameos aplenty here with our man David Hasselhoff, Lance Armstrong and Chuck Norris for the sake of a laugh and it works, it all works.
These guys aren't serious are they.
Visually, the image is pristine, nice and sharp with beautiful detail and some rich coloring all the way through. There's nothing average about the transfer here. Audio wise we're offered a lone Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that could have been better. The front sound stage is more than adequate but the rears aren't used to their full potential when you normally expect them to. Maybe we're just used to an enveloping soundtrack but where was nary a time where I felt there was much going on in the rear.
The swag of extras begins with an audio commentary by writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber and actors Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn with Stiller arriving late to join what is more of a mock-mentary. We're talking over exaggerated arguments, off topic banter, chewing of chips right into the microphone as if there was nothing being recorded; this is great stuff. If you want to hear a better audio commentary then you need to go looking for the easter eggs on this disc as there are 2 more, 1 from the same set of stooges listed here and another from the director alone. Both of these are more the usual fare which is great that they left the mock version as the first choice.
Jason Bateman is Pepper Brooks
Next up are 10 deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary from the director. There's a few laughs to be had here especially with the cardio cowboy; very hetero. The alternate ending is not one you would normally expect for your typical underdog story which is why it would have fit perfectly with the movie, even if the ending they reshot was good enough.
A collection of 5 mini featurettes comes next titled Dodgeball Boot Camp: Training for Dodgeball, The Anatomy of a Hit, Justin Long: A Study in Ham & Cheese, Dodgeball: Go for the Gold and More with the Dodgeball Dancers. We know you'll go straight for the last one and forget the others and so does the director which is why he's included a short video introduction pointing out this very fact. To round off is a short 3 minute blooper reel with some classic stuff-ups; true blooperisms even if Hasselhoff says so himself.
The average joes of Average Joes
You don't go into Dodgeball expecting too much. You know it's going to be about face hitting slap-stick and you get it plus some bonus to flesh out the cake, presented on a nice shiny platter for all members of the crib to enjoy. Sometimes the simplest of ideas for a movie pay off the best, no matter the genre, and this is no exception. Repeated viewings are necessary to pick up more of the jokes but it doesn't in any way diminish the laughs at all when you know what's coming.