Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
|Genre(s): Comedy / Sports|
|Fox || PG13 - 92 minutes - $19.98 || December 7, 2004|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-01-01|
Writer(s): Rawson Marshall Thurber (written by)
Cast: Vince Vaugn, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Joel Moore, Chris Williams, Alan Tudyk, Missi Pyle
Theatrical Release Date: June 18, 2004
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I wasn't expecting much from Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (hence the reason I chose not to see it in theaters), however I was quite surprised about how funny it was. Although the jokes didn't always hit, there was just enough to keep this from being a dud.
Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller both do a great job and have a good comedic relationship. Dodgeball is another addition into the Stiller/Vaughn/Ferrell comedy collection that include (with variations): Old School (Vaughn/Ferrell), Starsky & Hutch and Anchorman. This is more than likely a film for those who liked the aforementioned films.
The commentary from writer/director Thurber plus Stiller and Vaughn, is quite entertaining (and for those who enjoy listening to these, maybe even more so than the film itself). There's a running joke throughout about what can and cannot be mentioned in the commentary (only Fox properties, please) as well as pointing out a mistake at the beginning (concerning when White Goodman lost those 6 pounds). I love when the commentaries include the actors (not spliced in, mind you) and they just let loose and have fun.
Deleted/Extended Scenes: As I already mentioned in another DVD review recently, these are scenes that were cut for pacing purposes; something admitted by the director himself on the optional commentary. In total there are 7 scenes (most of which, as far as I could tell, were actually just extended rather than deleted...) including one called "Shame Triangle" where White Goodman after getting the red tassle warning must kneel down as a red light pours down on him and the crowd showers him with boos. The other scenes aren' all that great and even if it weren't for "pacing" purposes, I'm glad they were left out (though Thurber wishes the kissing scene between Justin and Amber was kept). The scenes clock in at around 9 minutes.
Alternate Ending: As is the case in a majority of films, the alternate ending usually entails the original's with some little changes, and Dodgeball is no exception. Now, if this ending had been released, it was certainly a very different one than what we saw, the only difference being it was cut a few minutes shorter and the credits started the role. Audiences at test screenings hated it, thus the reason for the change. Although I think I would've gotten it, I'm glad they went with the one they did even if it wasn't original (but how original can you be with a movie about dodgeball).
Dodgeball Bootcamp: Training for Dodgeball: This featurette is in the same line of one's where the actors go to camp to train how to fire a gun or how to become a soldier, etc. For Dodgeball, they had to train to become "skilled" throwers. Well, not exactly, they mainly goofed around a bit.
The Anatomy of a Hit: A short featurette with cast and crew interviews plus clips from the movie, discussing why people get hit where they do, and why it's so funny (hitting someone hard in the head or the crotch will get more laughs). Not great, but still funny.
Justin Long: A Study of Ham & Cheese: This is more of a montage showcasing actor Justin Long's many takes as he gets hit in the face or chest, tries many lines, facial expressions... While I liked this character and found him funny at times, this was what I call a filler for the DVD.
Dodgeball: Go for the Gold: Another short where Stiller and Vaughn sit in front of the camera and lobby for dodgeball to become an Olympic sport. Dumb, but funny to see these two talk. Filler material again.
Bloopers/Gag Reel: I always enjoy watching the flubs by actors and/or crew. Many times it's messed up lines, but here it's general goofiness when actors start cracking up (Vaughn vs. Stiller before the death match, Stiller and Taylor on her porch).
Lastly, there are the trailers section which recently have been missing on many DVDs lately. Although I find movie trailers to be filler, I do like watching them to compare what I saw in the actual film versus what's in the trailer (including missing scenes). Also, there are several easter eggs including another feature length commentary from the director without Vaughn or Stiller. Although this commentary tended to overlap the other in regards to information, Thurber does provide some more tid bits about filming his first movie.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Sound isn't exactly an important element on a comedy DVD. My center speaker was the only one used most of the time, though I could hear some ambient sounds throughout. Decent enough, but if I weren't reviewing this, I would've just used my regular TV speakers (as I do when watching most comedies). The picture looks good, bringing out the nifty colors of the dodgeball teams.
The movie may be hit or miss (if you like the Stiller/Vaughn combo, then you'll enjoy this one), but the DVD actually has some good stuff for what it is. I personally liked the commentaries the most (especially the actor-included one). A good DVD for comedy and worth purchasing if you like the material.