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DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story

DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story is a 2004 American sports comedy film written and directed by Rawson M. Thurber and starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller.

DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story
Movie poster Dodgeball A True Underdog Story.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rawson M. Thurber
Produced by
Written by Rawson M. Thurber
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Jerzy Zielinski
Edited by
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 18, 2004 (2004-06-18)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[1]
Box office $167.7 million[1]

The plot follows a group of misfits entering a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.



Peter LaFleur is the owner of Average Joe's Gymnasium, a small gym with only a few members. When he defaults on the gym's mortgage, it is purchased by his rival, the arrogant White Goodman, a fitness guru and owner of the Globo Gym across the street. Unless Peter can raise $50,000 in thirty days, White will foreclose on Average Joe's and demolish it to build a parking garage. Attorney Katherine "Kate" Veatch is working on the transaction for White. White unsuccessfully attempts to seduce her; she says she does not date clients, and instead develops a close friendship with Peter.

Average Joe's employees Dwight and Owen and members Steve "the Pirate", Justin, and Gordon try to raise the money needed to save the gym. Gordon suggests that they enter a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas with a $50,000 prize. They form a team with Peter and watch a 1950s-era training video narrated by dodgeball legend Patches O'Houlihan and a 12-year old boy named Timmy. They are soundly defeated by a Girl Scout troop in a local qualifying match but win by default when the Scouts are disqualified because of one member's steroid and beaver tranquilizer use.

White spies on Average Joe's using a hidden camera in a cardboard cutout of himself, and forms his own dodgeball team to defeat them. Peter is approached by the aging, wheelchair-bound Patches, who volunteers to coach the team. Patches's training regimen includes throwing wrenches at the team, forcing them to dodge oncoming cars, and constantly berating them with insults. Kate demonstrates skill at the game but declines to join the team as it would be a conflict of interest. Then White arranges for Kate to be fired from her law firm, imagining she will now date him. Enraged, but now free to do so, she joins the Average Joe's team.

At the tournament in Las Vegas, Average Joe's suffers early setbacks but manages to advance to the final round against Globo Gym. The night before the match, Patches is killed by a falling sign. Peter expresses his anxiety that the team will lose and tells Steve that he is not a pirate, causing Steve to leave the team. White offers Peter $100,000 for the deed to Average Joe's. The day of the final round, Justin leaves to help his classmate Amber with a cheerleading competition, leaving the team without enough members to compete. Peter has a chance encounter with Lance Armstrong, who talks him into rejoining his team. But he and Justin return too late; Average Joe's has already forfeited the match. Gordon finds a loophole in the rules: a majority of the judges can overturn the forfeiture. Chuck Norris casts the tie-breaking vote allowing the team to play.

After an intense game, Peter and White face off in a sudden-death match to determine the winner. Inspired by a vision of Patches, Peter blindfolds himself and is able to dodge White's throw and strike him, winning the championship and the prize money. White declares the victory meaningless, revealing that Peter agreed to sell Average Joe's to him the previous night, but Peter reveals that he used White's $100,000 to bet on Average Joe's to win; with the odds against them at 50 to 1, he collects $5 million. Because Globo Gym is a public company, he purchases a controlling interest in it, thus regaining Average Joe's, and fires White. Steve, now with a more normal appearance, returns to the group after Peter apologizes to him, and quickly returns to his pirate persona.

Peter is shocked when a girlfriend of Kate's kisses her passionately, but Kate then reveals that she is bisexual and kisses Peter as well. Justin finds romance with Amber, while Owen begins dating Fran from the Globo Gym team. Peter opens youth dodgeball classes at a newly renovated Average Joe's, while White returns to morbid obesity.


Cameo appearances


Box officeEdit

In its first week, the film grossed over $29 million, and would go on to a domestic gross of $114.3 million,[2] and a worldwide total of $167.7 million.[3]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 70% based on 162 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The site's consensus reads, "Proudly profane and splendidly silly, Dodgeball is a worthy spiritual successor to the goofball comedies of the 1980s."[4] On Metacritic the film has a score of 55 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

Slant Magazine dismissed the film as "a less-than-one-joke film",[7] while TV Guide remarked that Ben Stiller "doesn't know when to stop".[8] Other critics, such as The Boston Globe, praised Stiller's satirical take on male virility and praised the chemistry between Vince Vaughn and Christine Taylor.[9] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal initially declined to review the film, believing it was not worthy of his time. However, after reviewing the DVD, he changed his view, writing, "Mea culpa, mea culpa. Rawson Marshall Thurber's debut feature, starring Ben Stiller opposite Vince Vaughn, is erratic, imbecilic if not completely idiotic, inconsequential in even the small scheme of things, and thoroughly entertaining".[10] Roger Ebert gave the film a three stars out of four rating in his Chicago Sun-Times review and writes "in a miraculous gift to the audience, 20th Century-Fox does not reveal all of the best gags in its trailer."[11]


Copyright lawsuitEdit

In 2005, two New York City screenwriters, Ben Chapman and Ashoka Thomas, filed suit in federal court against Fox and Thurber, claiming copyright infringement of an unproduced screenplay they had written, DodgeBall: The Movie, by Thurber and Fox. They alleged there were a number of similarities in the plots of the two screenplays, and that Thurber may have had access to their screenplay, which was finished a month before his and submitted to an agent whose assistant he was acquainted with.[12] Lawyers for the defendants dismissed some of the allegations as coincidental. They said that both screenplays were the work of writers who used common formulaic elements. Judge Shira Scheindlin denied the defense motion for summary judgement and ordered a jury trial.[13][14] The suit was later settled out of court.[15][16]



On April 22, 2013, it was announced that 20th Century Fox has started developing a sequel to the film, with Clay Tarver writing the script and Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn returning to star.[17] However Ben Stiller has since stated that he wasn't aware a DodgeBall sequel was happening.[18] A reunion video featuring the cast was released online in June 2017, announcing a competition to raise funds for the Stiller Foundation.[19]

ESPN8: The OchoEdit

Thirteen years after being lampooned in the film with "ESPN8: The Ocho," a network showing obscure sports, ESPN announced it would rebrand its sister channel ESPNU to the Ocho name for one day, on August 8, 2017. It will feature a lineup of unconventional sporting events ranging from Disc Golf to Ultimate Trampoline Dodgeball and Firefighters World Challenge.[20][21]


  1. ^ a b "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ "DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004) – Weekend Box Office Results". 
  3. ^ Official website "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 22, 2004. Retrieved 2004-06-21. 
  4. ^ "Dodgeball - A True Underdog Story". June 18, 2004. 
  5. ^ "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story". Metacritic. 
  6. ^ "CinemaScore". [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Film Review: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  8. ^ "Review of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story". TV Guide. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  9. ^ Morris, Wesley (2004-06-18). "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story Movie Review". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  10. ^ Morgenstern, Joe (2005-07-15). "As Fast-Talking Con Men, 'Wedding Crashers' Wilson And Vaughn Take the Cake (2005)". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  11. ^ "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  12. ^ "Complaint". United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. June 2005. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ Glaberson, William (July 22, 2007). "Dodgeballs and Jokes May Seem Too Close for Comfort". The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  14. ^ Price v. Fox Entertainment Group, 499 F. Supp. 2d 382, (S.D.N.Y., 2007).
  15. ^ "Intellectual Property". Davis & Gilbert LLP. 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011. We successfully represented the plaintiffs in a high-profile copyright-infringement lawsuit in which two screenwriters alleged that the hit movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story infringed the copyright in their screenplay Dodgeball: The Movie. 
  16. ^ "Michael B. Carlinsky". Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011. Represented Fox Entertainment Group, Twentieth Century Fox and other defendants against copyright infringement claims arising out of the Ben Stiller movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story ... Obtained a favorable settlement. 
  17. ^ "'Dodgeball' Sequel in the Works at Fox (Exclusive)". 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2013-07-15. 
  18. ^
  19. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Volner, Derek (August 3, 2017). "ESPN Transforms ESPNU to ESPN8: "The Ocho" August 8". ESPN MediaZone (Press release). ESPN. 
  21. ^

External linksEdit