A True Underdog Story (5/10)
2004 by Tony Medley
This really looked
like it was going to be dumb before I saw it. Turns out it’s not as
dumb as it appears. Compounding this preconception, I thought both
stars, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, truly horrible in Starsky and
Hutch, which was a truly horrible movie. So I’m not expecting much
when I’m walking into the screening.
On the plus side, I
discovered before it started that the running time was a workable hour
and a half, so I wasn’t going to be there long. Then the movie started
and I’m thinking, “This isn’t so bad.”
Peter La Fleur
(Vaughn) is a likeable loser, shoddily running his gym into the ground.
White Goodman (Stiller) is a Type A overachiever who runs a competing
gym with super efficiency. For some reason unknown to us, he wants
Peter’s gym. Switching their roles in Starsky, Vaughn’s the
good guy and Stiller’s the bad guy.
Peter is about to be
foreclosed out of his gym because he owes $50,000 he doesn’t have. To
that end, the bank’s lawyer, Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor,
Stiller’s real life wife) visits him to do an audit. Peter decides
he’ll enter a Dodgeball tournament to win the $50,000. Naturally,
he’s up against White’s team.
White hits on Kate.
She says it would be a conflict of interest for her to date him, so he
has her fired. Infuriated, she joins Peter’s team.
One thing this movie
does extremely well is to explain the game they’re playing. By the
time of the ultimate competition, you understand what they’re doing
and why. I wish that surfing movies would explain that arcane
competition sometime. Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn) gives a quick
tutorial explaining the rules and how to play the game. By the time of
the competition, you understand the game.
There are many
cameos (William Shatner, Chuck Norris, David Hasselhoff, and Lance
Armstrong, who has a very funny segment).
This takes shots at
decorum, some of which are funny. There was one that was deplorable and
unacceptable. To put somebody down, Peter yells, “You’re
adopted…your parents don’t even love you.” Writer-Director Rawson
Marshall Thurber should be ashamed of himself for such a shameful line.
In addition there are some crude sexual jokes that would eliminate this
as acceptable viewing for children and call into question the
intellectual level of the people who created them.
does contain a nice satirical comment on inane sportscasters and color
commentators that strikes home. This is an over the top, silly, clearly
played for laughs, trifle. Despite the adoption line and the low class
sexual jokes, to my surprise this was a moderately entertaining hour and
June 17, 2004