If you have any sort of nostalgia towards the comedies of the early 2000s, then I truly hope you remember Dodgeball. A film I’ve personally watched countless of times over the course of well over a decade now, and having never found it any less interesting than the first time I watched it, it’s a true guilty pleasure that really shouldn’t be that guilty. For it may be a comedy movie starring the likes of Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller, but it’s a comfortable watch that’ll have you reeling with laughter.
Vaughn stars as Peter La Fleur, the owner of Average Joe’s gymnasium. Given a month to pay off a debt of $50,000, he and a few other devoted gym goers set about joining a dodgeball tournament, with a grand prize of $50,000. It’s a story that relies on the ability to convince us that a band of nerds and typical loser style characters can band together in a fashion great enough to win a dodgeball tournament.
With an all-star ensemble of recognisable faces of the time period Dodgeball released into, its cast is one of its greatest strengths. From great cameo appearances from Hank Azaria to iconic supporting roles from Alan Tudyk and the late Rip Torn. One of his finest roles, Torn’s performance as Patches O’Hoolahan is one of my favourites of his. A consistently crude and somehow redeemably good performance blended together by an actor that had been the heart of many comedies before this.
The starring role of Vince Vaughn is great but leaves a lot to be desired. His deadpan expression that lasts through the majority of the movie is well rounded, but his lack of emotion brings about an ominous persona that leaves me wanting a leading character with a bit more depth. Luckily this group of dodgeball players bring about every nerdy stereotype you could think of. We have the traditional loser, played by Joel David Moore, the regular guy brought to us by Chris Williams, and the obsessive sports fan, with Stephen Root giving a superb performance as Gordon.
With such a strong cast, it’s easy to latch on to some of the characters, and in turn we get the very best of their respective performances. In part thanks to a terrific script with some great lines and throwaway gags. I began to resent it a little more than I thought I would have done, especially when it comes to some of the jokes. This does come from how many times I’ve watched the film though, and covering old ground so many times is bound to leave an imprint on my mind. But take that as the biggest praise a film can get, one that can be watched so many times and so frequently should always be treasured.