Region 2 Edition
Rawson Marshall Thurber
Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Alan Tudyk
Slacker Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughan) owns
a run-down gymnasium, Average Joe's, which is home-from-home to a bunch of
misfit customers. A big-business health and fitness chain, Globo Gym, led
by the obnoxious White Goodman (Ben Stiller) is trying to force Average
Joe's out of business. Discovering that he needs $50,000 to keep his gym
solvent, La Fleur assembles a motley band of 'athletes' and enters a dodgeball
Dodgeball may be
formulaic (it follows the blueprint established by numerous sports dramas like
The Mighty Ducks and
Remember The Titans), but it manages to wring plenty of laughs from a
simple concept, and it's likeable characters.
Vince Vaughan has been in far
better movies (Swingers, and its underrated follow-up, Made,
for example), but he's a good team player here, alongside Stephen Root
(from cult gem Office Space),
Justin Long, The Larry Sanders Show's Rip Torn (as legendary
dodgeball coach Patches O'Houlihan) and Firefly's Alan Tudyk. There
are also great cameos from Gary Cole (another Office Space alumni,
but perhaps best known to comedy fans as Mike Brady in the Brady Bunch
movies) and The Simpsons' Hank Azaria.
Ben Stiller has never been
twitchier, and his performance here is as broad as the one he gave in Zoolander. Personally I prefer him a little more subdued, in movies like
The Royal Tenenbaums or Meet The Parents, but I guess his
more manic personas have their fans, too.
The jokes come thick and fast, and there's
some very quotable dialogue - almost everything Patches O'Houlihan says, for example. Writer / Director Rawson Marshall Thurber
has injected the film with plenty of energy, and the film zips along most
The disc is being promoted in the UK as an
"Uncut Version". This appears to mean that it's the same as the
International theatrical edit, which has a few minor differences to the US
theatrical cut, which was toned down by the MPAA. More information on this
The disc is presented in anamorphic 2.35:1
format. It's hard to fault the transfer, which has bold colours, sharp
contrast and good apparent detail. There's a touch of edge-enhancement
haloing evident here and there, but it's a small price to pay for such a
The average bit-rate is a rather low
4.9Mb/s, but it rarely dips below the 4.5Mb/s mark, and much of the film is
rather static. Slow-motion analysis of the film's action scenes reveals
some resolution deficiencies, but these sequences are so quick-cut, that
it's barely noticeable in normal playback mode.
The film has a Dolby Digital 5.1 track (at
448kbps). Apart from the commentaries, it's the only audio track on offer,
so no bit-rate is being wasted here. The mix is polished, but rarely
spectacular. There's some good crowd ambience during the film's stadium
sequences, with good surround presence. Dialogue is generally
well-recorded, and the sounds of the dodgeballs hitting the contestants
packs a satisfying wallop.
The disc offers English HoH subtitles, on
the film, the commentaries, and the other bonus materials.
The various on-screen captions (captions
charting the progress of the dodgeball championship from round to round,
and a scene featuring some subtitled German dialogue), appear as they
would have in the theatrical presentation (these are not
THE BONUS MATERIAL
NB: This section includes spoiler details
about the Easter Eggs to be found on the disc.
The disc includes two full-length
commentary tracks, one which is accessible directly from the disc menus,
and a second that is hidden as an Easter Egg. The first features Thurber,
Stiller and Vaughn, and is certainly worth listening to. It's a chatty
track, kept amusing by Vaughn, who's typically amusing and sharp-witted.
Stiller is more subdued, and you get the impression that he rarely
comments without being prompted. There's a fair bit of background
information conveyed here, including discussion of some of the creative
choices that were dictated by the film's schedule and budget, and of the narrative
changes made as the production rolled out. The second, by Thurber alone,
is more focused, and rather less fun. There's some duplication of
information between the two tracks, but nothing too irksome.
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Dodgeball is pretty lean, so it's
not surprising to find that there was a lot of material shot that didn't
make the final edit. This section features a total of eleven minutes of
deleted material, presented in reasonably good-quality non-anamorphic
They are: Cardio Cowboy, Gordon
Asks For A Divorce / White Goodman's Metaphor Speech, Justin and
Amber see Derek Before Cheerleading Finals, The Dirty Sanchez,
Fran and Owen in bed, Kate's Porch, Justin and Amber Kiss,
Shame Triangle, Three Way Kiss, Different ending with
[SPOILER - click and drag to reveal]
fat White Goodman
(pizza bagels are burning).
The inclusion of the Justin and Amber
Kiss scene is initially a bit of a puzzle, since the scene is
apparently identical to the version on the film. All is revealed by the
commentary track: the end of the scene (the kiss) was cut from the US
theatrical version of the film at the studio's request, but it was
retained in the International version.
Alternate Ending (1'15")
Presented separate from the other deleted
scenes, and with it's own menu option, this Alternate Ending is
actually the director's preferred ending. It was changed at the studio's
insistence. This version [SPOILER]
cuts at the point where the Purple Cobras win the tournament - there's no
cop-out happy ending! Thurber
explains on the optional commentary that he - and some of the key cast
members - felt very strongly that the film should end this way, and in
fact even walked off the film for a week in a dispute with the studio,
before eventually capitulating. It's difficult to know if he's being
serious or not. It's certainly hard to believe that the film might have
ended this way.
Dodgeball Boot Camp: Training For
Interviews with the cast members and the
Stunt Co-ordinator, Alex Daniels, about the cast's rigorous training
The Anatomy of a Hit (3m)
Thurber distils the essence of the film's
physical comedy: getting hit in the groin or in the face by a dodgeball is
One of the clips in this featurette is different from the
scene as it appears in
the film. The line "You're about as useful as a poopie-flavoured lollipop"
is from the US MPAA-approved theatrical edit of the film. In the
International version Patches says ""You're about as useful as a
cock-flavoured lollipop"! There is at least one other similar dialogue
substitution in the US theatrical / DVD release, so for the unexpurgated
Dodgeball experience, get the UK disc!
Justin Long: A Study in Ham & Cheese
An impressive compilation of ad-libs, shots
of Justin getting hit by dodgeballs, and other physical comedy.
Dodgeball: Go For The Gold (1m)
Vince and Ben make the case for making
dodgeball an Olympic sport.
More with the Dodgeball Dancers (with
video introduction by Writer/Director Rawson Marshall Thurber)
Thurber introduces three minutes of footage
of the Dodgeball Dancers strutting their stuff: "I know what you're doing.
You know what you're doing. Let's not talk about it!" There are three
short clips, with self-explanatory titles: In Pink, In Blue
and In Black.
Bloopers / Gag Reel (3m)
An amusing and uncensored selection of
fluffs and screw-ups.
Inside Look (2m)
A very short promotional featurette for the
movie, including in-character interviews.
There are also a few Easter Eggs scattered
around. These include a clip of Justin frolicking with the car wash babes
(via the Featurettes menu); and an extended version of the
"Blade... Laser... Blazer..." scene, with Cousin Jeff in the line-up (from
the Special Features menu). The best one, which is to be found on
the Commentary menu, gives the viewer access to the second commentary
track, by Thurber on his own.
There's also one that leads to the Thurber
/ Stiller / Vaughn commentary (by highlighting the Purple Cobras logo on
the Special Features menu). Perhaps there's something I'm missing,
but it just seems to be alternate way of accessing the group commentary.
On the US disc clicking this leads to instructions to find the other
Easter Eggs: whenever Stiller's character clicks his fingers in the film,
you press enter. It seems that Fox's UK authors have opted for a far more
straightforward presentation. Most reviewers of the US disc missed the
Easter Eggs completely!
That's a pretty comprehensive array of
bonus materials for a film of this type, even if most of them are short
The US disc has a couple of Dodgeball
trailers, and makes the script available via DVD-Rom. It also has a
different array of promotional trailers (for Pauly Shore Is Dead, The
Ringer and an advert for the DVD release of the Arrested
Development TV series, which features Jason Bateman, who plays the
younger of the two Dodgeball match commentators). The US disc also
promotional featurette for the
The UK disc opens with a string of clutter
and promotional drek, most of which can be skipped, using the menu or
chapter forward buttons. For the record, you get: an anti-piracy trailer
(downloading movies is wrong, kids!), a FACT information screen, trailers
for Robots, Sideways, Bride and Prejudice and The
Clearing, and an advert for the various Simpsons DVDs. The CGI
Robots trailer is worth a look, if you haven't seen it, and
Alexander Payne's film Sideways looks promising...
Fox UK's Dodgeball disc, while not
quite the equivalent of the US edition, is perfectly fine. It has a great
transfer, and about as much bonus material as you could reasonably expect
from a single-disc edition.