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Dodgeball (Unrated)
DVD disk
06.27.2005 By: Scott Weinberg
Dodgeball (Unrated) order
Director:
Rawson Marshall Thurber

Actors:
Vince Vaughn
Ben Stiller
Christine Taylor

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
It's a trip back to "snobs vs. slobs" country, sports fans, as a team of clueless, ball-slinging idiots match up against a swanky health club full of sneering jerkwads.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If you can judge a slob-comedy solely by how many good, solid yuks it delivers, then yes: Dodgeball is indeed a very good movie. Frankly I think it's one of the best comedies to be released in 2004, mainly because it's got Vince Vaughn in full-on Bill Murray mode and Ben Stiller at his most enjoyably obnoxious ... but also because Dodgeball works just as well as an actual sports movie (OK, a sports movie satire, perhaps) as it does a wrench-to-the-forehead slapstick affair.

Fans of the always-busy Vince Vaughn should find a lot to like in Dodgeball; the guy gets to anchor a movie all on his own, and he does a bang-up job of creating that "sarcastic slacker" that's so easy to root for. But that's not to say that Vaughn's the only asset on display here; Dodgeball boasts as staggeringly offbeat and colorful a background ensemble as you're ever likely to see. If you can find another comedy that features a roster of names like Rip Torn, Stephen Root, Alan Tudyk, Gary Cole, Jason Bateman, Hank Azaria, Chuck Norris, William Shatner, and David Hasselhoff, well, let me know, because that's a movie I'll want to see.

And given how many subpar / awful comedies that Ben Stiller has produced in the past several years, I think Dodgeball deserves to be placed on a cracked little pedestal. It's a consistently amusing movie that tries to recapture the old-school mania found in "lovable loser" flicks like Caddyshack and Animal House. And while it's certainly not the classic that those movies are, I suspect that time will be very kind to Dodgeball, and that it will continue to find new fans as the years go by.

THE EXTRAS
OK, let's cut right to the chase; you Dodgeball fans already bought the first DVD, and you want to know the difference between that one and this new-fangled "unrated" version. Well, as far as the movie itself is concerned, I can't spot any major changes. Both DVD cases sport "92 minutes" as the running time, so my guess is that we're getting a few extra F-bombs and very little else.

In the Extras department, however, you'll find some new goodies. There's an all-new "joke" commentary with writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber and actors Ben Stiller & Vince Vaughn ... and it's actually quite funny! Vaughn opens the commentary by chomping his potato chips directly into the microphone and overpraising his performance to a hilariously obnoxious degree. Thurber whines and complains that Stiller hasn't shown up yet. Eventually Ben arrives and proceeds to act like a spoiled-brat movie-star prima donna. Thurber's best comment to Stiller: "Hey, make eight movies a year and one of 'em is bound to work!" Eventually Thurber gets up and leaves in a huff, leaving Vaughn and Stiller to abuse the DVD producers. Once the actors skip out on the commentary (about 40 minutes in), the clueless producers dig out an old Farrelly Brothers commentary and let it run for the rest of the movie. Feel free to turn this commentary off once the "There's Something About Mary" yak-track begins, but the early stuff is entirely full of solid laughs.

(If you're looking for the commentary track that was included on the first DVD, just click to the right on the appropriate menu page. Stiller's teeth will light up with a sparkling smile, and voila, the "more serious" commentary track is there for your enjoyment.)

All of the extra features from the first Dodgeball DVD have been carried over to this new release. The old stuff is as follows:

Four rather amusing featurettes entitled Dodgeball Boot Camp: Training for Dodgeball, The Anatomy of a Hit, Justin Long: A Study in Ham & CHeese, and Dodgeball: Go for the Gold. Each of these extras should prove enjoyable to the die-hard Dodgeballers out there, but I'm sure you've seen these bits already. Still, nice to have 'em included on this new disc, since you might want to send your original DVD off to eBay once if you pick this one up.

One little extra that's new is a brief three-part collection called More with the Dodgeball Dancers. Thurber offers a short introduction before we're treated to three clips of jiggling cheerleaders. No nakedness, fellas, but plenty of cheesecake.

Of the nine deleted scenes, six are holdovers from the original DVD and three are all-new: "Fran and Owen in Bed," "Three Way Kiss," (yes, from the lesbian gag at the end of the movie), and "Different Ending with fat White Goodman (pizza bagels are burning)" (which is more of Stiller in his horrifying fat suit.) All of the deleted scenes are viewable with optional Thurberized commentary.

You'll also find the old alternate ending, gag reel, trailers, and DVD-ROM Screenplay file.

Ah, actually there does seem to be one extra feature that's missing from the Unrated release: an "Inside Look" EPK featurette that you really won't miss one way or another. Unless it's hidden via easter egg, that piece has not made the leap to this double-dip release.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Shameless double-dip or worthwhile upgrade? You decide. But the upgrade is this: buy the new Dodgeball and you'll get a little extra profanity, a short-yet-pretty funny "joke" commentary, some rather bland cheerleader clips, and a handful of previously unreleased deleted scenes.

If you adore Dodgeball and don't already own the first DVD, then this is definitely the one to own. But if Dodgeball's already a part of your DVD collection, you just have to figure out if the meager new doo-dads are worth your fifteen bucks.

But the flick just makes me laugh like a lunatic, so I can certainly recommend this disc. Whether or not it's worthy of an upgrade, however, is entirely up to you.

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