Making the Grades
Peter La Fleur's (Vince Vaughn) ?Average Joe's Gym? reflects every aspect of his life. His utilities are about to be cut off, his house is a mess, and it's worthy of a celebration when his car actually starts. But even a closet full of years of ignored financial statements doesn't prepare him for the news from cute blonde banker Kate (Christine Taylor, who is Ben Stiller's wife in real life). It seems the mortgage on his aging sports facility has been recalled and he must come up with $50,000 within 30 days.
Across the street, Globo Gym is bursting with bucks, biceps and egos. At the center of the action is White Goodman (Ben Stiller). Looking like he buys steroids from a candy machine, the over-the-top promoter is permanently pumped up--including the air-compressed pocket on the front of his pants. Yet Goodman still wants more, and has his beady eyes set on acquiring La Fleur's business so he can expand.
Coincidentally, Kate is also Goodman's banker. Deflecting his every advance, she attempts to maneuver through the precarious position of providing financial advice to the two competitors in what can be described as an ?only in the movies? conflict of interest.
And, like in so many other films where a protagonist needs cash in a hurry, you can expect they'll try the strangest thing in hopes of getting the money. Such personalities usually have a small rag-tag group of believers too. In this case, it's five devoted customers who convince La Fleur they should enter the world dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas. The grand prize? You guessed it 50 grand.
Dodgeball opens with rapid-fire comedy and takes a healthy aim at spoofing the gym culture, infomercials, and cable television's desperate attempt to fill dozens of networks with anything they can get their lenses on.
But the genuine comedy that could result from such fertile ground is choked out by many weeds of innuendo and gross humor, along with profanities that include a use of the sexual expletive. Talk of selling blood and semen (? but not mixed together?), drinking your own urine, and using a doorknob as a sexual device, are a sampling of the dialogue. Meanwhile, watching Stiller's character take shock therapy through his nipples and imply masturbating with a pizza, are only two of many moments that accurately define the term sight gags.
For families, the best that can be found in this script, with the sole purpose of propping up the jokes, is a secondary message about friends working together and a few exciting scenes of the actual game being played. Otherwise Dodgeball's early comedic bounce springs a leak by the middle of the game, and ends on a definite flat note.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
At the start of the movie, Peter La Fleur is portrayed as a guy who cant manage even basic aspects of his life. Yet, after being compared with Ben Stillers highly exaggerated and unrealistic character, Peter seems quite normal. How are our perceptions of people skewed when we make similar comparisons in reality?
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