There are spoilers contained within this review.
After the credits have rolled, Ben Stiller's character White Goodman reappears on the screen after being humiliated in the International Dodgeball Tournament. Goodman states that 'once again the good guys won and the bad guys lost.' He goes on to further explain how the storyline we've just witnessed is another in a line of traditional Hollywood stories and reaffirms the lack of creativity by the world of cinema. Is there any truth in this statement? Yes. Does this affect my feelings towards the movie? Not one damn bit, and you know why? Because Dodgeball is a flawless comedy filled with hilarious off the wall humor and one-liners.
Dodgeball is the story for all the underdogs out there. Vince Vaughn is Peter La Fleur, owner of Average Joes, a small-time gym that concentrates on keeping its members happy rather than fit. Because of his lackadaisical work ethic, La Fleur has accumulated an insurmountable debt. Casting a dark shadow on Average Joes is Globo Gym, owned by Goodman (Stiller), who portrays an egotistical bodybuilder who plans to buy Average Joes once it forecloses and construct a parking garage in its place.
La Fleur is backed into a corner, but he's not alone. A motley crue of patrons that include an odd-sports enthusiast (Stephen Root), a failed male cheerleader (Justin Long), and a man that thinks he's a pirate (Alan Tudyk) won't let him fail. And with the additions of the greatest dodgeball player ever, Patches O'Houlihan, as their coach and the beautiful lawyer that happens to be an ex-softballer, Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor), they're ready to compete in a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas worth $50,000 to save the gym. But Goodman, continuing his role as the ultimate villain, has other plans, and also enters his Globo Gym Purple Cobras into the tournament. Both teams battle their way through an array of stereotypical teams in the opening rounds, and eventually setting things up for the ultimate showdown: Joes vs. Cobras.
There is more to the story than just dodgeball. Unlike the typically undeveloped characters of modern comedies, writer Rawson Marshall Thurber has added some complexity to these characters. Each character is dealing with their own personal issues in additional to pelting opponents with balls. This is what sets Dodgeball apart from its contemporaries.
Pros: The laughs are too numerous to count. I've already found myself using several of the lines in daily life. The cast that was chosen by director/writer Thurber is the perfect fit. The chemistry between Stiller and Vaughn is every director's dream. But it is Rip Torn's portrayal of the out of his mind O'Houlihan that steals the film. How can you compete with lines like this: "Is it really necessary for me to drink my own urine? No. I drink it because it's sterile and I like the taste!" The film also has the help of some rather unexpected cameos. Chuck Norris appears as judge helping the Joes out in a difficult time. David Hasselhoff gives the losing Germans a piece of his mind. And Lance Armstrong provides some zero hour advice to La Fleur. These moments definitely add to the myriad of laughs.
Cons: The general storyline isn't anything groundbreaking. The 'underdog good guys vs. favored bad guys' theme has been used thousands and thousands of times before. Though it may not have been used with the sport of Dodgeball, it still is a tired theme. But then again people always love rooting for the underdog. Some might consider some of the jokes to be rather predictable, though I found them to be vastly original and quite funny. Maybe I don't get out enough.
Bottom-line: It's a cliché story, but with the amount of laughs that are served up by inter-cast banter and one-liners, not to mention the unexpected cameos, Dodgeball is a guaranteed box-office hit. I would be truly surprised if a sequel to this film wasn't made.