Monday, September 03, 2007

Dodgeball



When I saw the first arch-sneer tone that set-up the first ten minutes of this film (what with Vince Vaughn's ragtag band of caricheture followers, Ben Stiller's monumentally over-the-top satire of contemporary image-obsessed workout gurus, the girl-next-door attitude + hollywood-glamour-shots combo of the lawyer/girlfriend character, yet played off of Vaughn's deadpan, straight-man slob-with-a-heart leading man) I was convinced I would hate it as much as I hate all comedies that pander for big laughs by encouraging their audiences to laugh AT not WITH the characters. Once I made peace with this (conventional-but-no-less-loathsome-for-being-so) tone, I found myself really enjoying the film; the conventional structure of the underdog-team-makes-good pic helped resolve the one-note punchlines of the various characters into narrative arcs that bordered on comic-reward, Jason Bateman's announcer was understated and ridiculous in perfect balance, and the seemingly-impossible-to-redeem gender & sexuality jokes even got paid off in a satisfying way.

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