(Herald rating: * * *)
Crude, violent, foul-mouthed and surprisingly funny, Dodgeball is a take-off on fitness clubs, sport and TV jocks from a bunch of people who've specialised in crude, violent and foul-mouthed movies for more than a decade now.
Average Joe's is a rundown gym, mostly rundown by its incompetent owner, Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn), who is so absent-minded that he has forgotten to collect the fees from his crazy members for some time. Across the road is Globo Gym, a multi-million-dollar muscle shop owned by White Goodman (Ben Stiller).
One day Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor) comes from the bank to tell La Fleur that Average Joe's needs $50,000 in 30 days or the bank will foreclose and White Goodman is ready to turn the site into a carpark.
Fortunately for La Fleur, Kate hates White Goodman for reasons that are unimportant to detail here (though may be important elsewhere: Taylor is Stiller's wife). When Stephen Root, the house expert on obscure sports, suggests they can wipe out the debt by winning a $50,000 dodgeball tournament in Vegas, she joins the team — along with Justin Long, the former high school geek and Alan Tudyk, who thinks he's a pirate.
In a brilliant cameo, "dodgeball legend" Patches O'Houlihan (veteran actor Rip Torn) arrives in his motorised wheelchair to coach the Average Joe's.
Among the one-liners and slapstick, look for cameos from Lance Armstrong, Hank Azaria, Chuck Norris, William Shatner and David Hasselhoff. Oh, and what is dodgeball? Kinda like volleyball with six balls and no net. But that is seriously unimportant here.
Given the participants, who've often gone overboard with features and out-takes, the the DVD disappoints. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber rambles on in a dull commentary and his stars are clearly less than interested. There are deleted/extended scenes and an alternate ending, and some pointless production features.
DVD, video rental out nowBy Ewan McDonald Email Ewan