Time: 92 mins.
SYNOPSIS: A group of misfits enter a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament in order to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.
BOTTOM LINE: As usual, the presence and performances of Vaughn and Stiller make an amusing and oftentimes hilarious movie out of the thinnest of plotlines. A great supporting cast (who are clearly without any shame) takes their cookie cutter parts and turns them into lovable losers you enjoy spending time with. What weighs the film down is the seemingly endless verbal sparring between the rival gym owners played by Stiller and Vaughn, which rarely treads new ground from encounter to encounter.
The dodgeball training is also initially amusing, mostly due to Torn's outrageousness, but there's only so many times you can see someone hit in the balls and still get a laugh. The film regains energy once they get to the competition in Vegas and much hilarity ensues from there. In fact, Gary Cole and Jason Bateman practically steal the show as the ESPN annoucers covering the tournament whose banter is as inane as it is inappropriate. Of course, what can you expect from dodgeball coverage.
Stiller has the flashier role and while I'm sure he had fun playing it, the testosterone-fueled, fitness-freak act gets rather old by the film's end. Vaughn does nothing special with his part, but this flick really needed a straight guy and no one plays a sarcastic slacker better. This being "a true underdog story" it's clear who wins from the first frame, but the ride is still an enjoyable one. It's certainly not the best work from either star, but if you're a fan DODGEBALL should still tickle your fancy.