Today’s weekend movie was Dodgeball, starring Ben Stiller, and featuring a large list of cameo appearances from some fun celebrities. Ben Stiller plays White Goodman, evil head of the Globo Gym, who is trying to buy out Peter La Fluer, played by Vince Vaughn, who owns Average Joes Gym. As one might imagine, Globo Gym is an evil corporate body beautiful kind of place, and Average Joe’s is the kind of place where I might show up and run on the treadmill. It’s a tired plot; David v. Goliath, we’ve seen it before a hundred times.
And yet, I found it funny. Really funny. I admit it with some embarassment, but it’s actually one of the funnier movies I’ve seen in quite some time. Perhaps it was the fact that I attended with a bunch of the younger crew from work, perhaps the stress of grinding out frames for Incredibles while worrying that my wife’s job is being outsourced to India is making me loopy, perhaps its just that I haven’t seen dorky guys hit in the head with wrenches enough this year, but I laughed a great deal. It’s not complicated, or deep, or even innovative. Stiller has turned out better performances, but perhaps none so over the top as this one, and it clearly works.
If you are looking for something cerebral, this isn’t it. If you want to see an absurd farce with lots of celebrity cameos, this is probably a good one to see. Aside: Lance Armstrong, you slay me.
A couple of caveats: Vince Vaughn looked like he slept through the whole production. Honestly guy, you are stealing the studios money when you sleepwalk through scenes. I don’t know what emotions you may have been trying for, but sheesh. The movie also leverages a few tired stereotypes: that people who are overweight are lazy, stupid or generally defective in character. It’s a common enough stereotype, and people continue to laugh at fat people when they fall down, and chortle when they think of fat people having sex. Heck, even I do occasionally, but the joke is just a bit too easy, isn’t it? C’mon.
Lecture over: even with the warts, this is a pretty damned funny movie. If you take yourself or your comedy seriously, you may not appreciate it’s finer qualities, but then you probably don’t go to see this one anyway. If you thrive on SouthPark and liked Baseketball, you’ll probably have a good time.