DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY (2004) ELEVEN, 8.30PM, M, COMEDY
The jokes come faster than a tennis star’s ace in this riotous comedy that aims firmly below the belt and hits nearly every time. Ben Stiller is at his best, complete with a handlebar moustache, feathered haircut and inflatable crotch piece, as White Goodman, the ridiculously narcissistic owner of Globo Gym (motto: “We’re better than you and we know it”). He wants to take over the nearby Average Joe’s, a downmarket gym for losers run by laidback Peter La Fleur (the lovable Vince Vaughn). La Fleur needs $50,000 to save his gym, so he and a rag-tag bunch of his members form a dodgeball team (the sport, by the way, is an official one, played primarily in schools throughout the US) to compete in a lucrative Las Vegas tournament. Rip Torn turns in a fine cameo as a former dodgeball great who teaches the no-hopers by throwing wrenches at their heads, Stiller’s wife Christine Taylor proves a good sport as the lawyer caught in the middle of the turf war and DieHard4.0 ’s Justin Long is the butt of several warped jokes. With quotable lines by the dozen, scores of funny cameos and absurd gags at every turn, writerdirector Rawson Marshall Thurber ensures there’s never a dull moment. ★★★★★
Playing to win: Vince Vaughn is in for the fight.