Archive for Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Chinstraps and mouthpieces

A new flick for sports film library?

June 23, 2004

Forget "Miracle" and "Hoosiers."

We now have "Dodgeball: A true underdog story."

Actually, the story of a group of low-level gym rats out-muscling some of the top-notch dodgeball teams from across the country can't compare to the other blockbusters.

"Dodgeball," which opened last Friday, never will match a bunch of 20-year-olds defeating the Soviet Union in Olympic hockey or a few teen-aged farm kids from Indiana winning the state basketball title.

But then again, it's not supposed to. Basketball and hockey have professional leagues that are covered regularly by ESPN and ABC.

Dodgeball, meanwhile, excuse me, make that "Extreme Dodgeball" has a new league that can be seen on the Game Show Network.

While documentaries such as "Hoop Dreams" were made in the name of basketball, a mockumentary was made in 1994 of dodgeball.

It was a 21-minute short film exploring the gym-class game. And in 2001, another film incorporated the game into the corporate world. Success in the company was determined by how associates fared during their weekly dodgeball games.

It's not a surprise that the newest version also is all about humor.

Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn lead the cast as health club owners on opposite ends of the fitness world.

Christine Taylor and Rip Torn also star in the sports world farce. Stephen Root, who starred in NBC's "News Radio" and was Milton in "Office Space," plays one of Vaughn's less-than-stellar gym members.

The movie is slow and predictable at first, but gains momentum after about a half-hour.

The film is rated PG-13 for rude and sexual humor and language, with which it seems to push the envelope on several occasions.

Still, with plenty of cameos and a skewed sense of humor, the movie does provide plenty of laughs -- whether you're a seasoned dodge ball pro or just a fan.

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