The film focuses on a rivalry between the owners of Average Joe's, a small gym, and Globo-Gym, a competing big-budget gym located across the street.
Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn), the owner of the smaller gym, has defaulted on his mortgage and enters a dodgeball tournament in an attempt to earn the money necessary to prevent his gym from being purchased by Globo-Gym owner, White Goodman (Ben Stiller). Globo-Gym enters a team in the tournament in an effort to ensure that Average Joe's gym fails.
Attorney Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor) is working on the gym transaction for White. White repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempts to charm her, and she instead develops a friendship with Peter while reviewing his financial records.
Average Joe's employees Dwight (Chris Williams) and Owen (Joel David Moore) and members Steve "the Pirate" (Alan Tudyk), Justin (Justin Long), and Gordon (Stephen Root) try to raise the money needed to save the gym. Gordon suggests that they enter a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas with a $50,000 prize. They form a team with Peter and watch a 1950s-era training video narrated by dodgeball legend "Patches" O'Houlihan (Hank Azaria).
They are soundly defeated by a Girl Scout troop in a local qualifying match, but win by default when the Scouts are disqualified because of steroid use.
White has been spying on Average Joe's using a hidden camera, and forms his own elite dodgeball team to oppose them.
Peter is approached by the aging, wheelchair-bound Patches (Rip Torn) who volunteers to coach the Average Joe's team. Patches' training regimen includes throwing wrenches at the team, forcing them to dodge oncoming cars, and constantly berating them with insults.
Kate demonstrates skill at the game, but declines an offer to join the team as it would be a conflict of interest owing to her contract with White. In the meantime, to circumvent Kate's employer dating employee conflict of interest, White arranges for her to be fired from her law firm so he can pursue her romantically. Infuriated, Kate joins the Average Joe's team.
At the tournament in Las Vegas, Average Joe's suffers early setbacks but manages to advance to the final round against Globo-Gym.
The night before the match, Patches is killed by a falling sign. This shakes Peter's confidence; he expresses his fear that the team will lose to Globo-Gym and berates Steve for his childish pirate persona, causing Steve to leave the team. White offers Peter $100,000 for the deed to Average Joe's, which Peter accepts.
The day of the final round Justin leaves to help his classmate Amber (Julie Gonzalo) with a cheerleading competition, leaving the Average Joe's team without enough members to compete.
Peter has a chance encounter with Lance Armstrong, who encourages him to rejoin his team, but by the time he arrives Average Joe's has already been forced to forfeit. Gordon finds a loophole in the rules that can overturn the forfeiture by vote of the judges, and Chuck Norris casts the tie-breaking vote to allow the team to play.
After a fierce game, Peter and White face off in a sudden death match to determine the winner. Inspired by a vision of Patches, Peter blindfolds himself and is able to dodge White's throw and strike him, winning the championship and the prize money.
White declares the victory meaningless, since Peter had sold Average Joe's to him the previous night, but Peter reveals that he used White's $100,000 to bet on Average Joe's to win; with the odds against them at 50 to 1, he has won $5 million.
He buys a controlling interest in Globo-Gym, which now also includes Average Joe's, and fires White. Steve returns to the group after Peter apologizes to him.
Kate reveals that she is bisexual and kisses both Peter and her girlfriend. Justin also finds romance with Amber, while Owen begins dating Fran (Missi Pyle) from the Globo-Gym team. Peter opens youth dodgeball classes at Average Joe's, while White becomes obese by drowning his sorrows in junk food.
this movie attests to my slow-pokey habit of watching an oldies. i had once put up a mental note to watch this movie but never get around into doing it.
i love this movie for the sheer fun of an underdog story. the characters are colourful and was said to be a launch pad for Justin Long's deadpan comic timing. i could not forget the horrific cheerleading tryout he had to endure the year before :)
nonetheless this is a feel good movie and Justin does have his share of luck in the end. though making him appear alongside pregnant Amber seems too much but somehow viewed essential to show that they are having their happily-ever-after. cliche!
as for the main actor, Vaughn surely becomes the pivotal character that he was cast in, ambling good-naturedly towards whatever that comes up. when quizzed on goals, he mouthed some nonsense that somehow makes sense viewed from his slacking bum perspective. he oozes charms that somehow make you root for him. besides, he does have a dry sense of humor to match.
believe me, the movie is fun. the training by Coach Patches is one horrific example, what with the speeding cars and flying wrenches :)
i am also happy to note that Jason Batemen was playing a supporting role as Pepper Brooks, a sport commentator sidekick for the Dodgeball tournament. it was a short appearance with him looking dazed most of the time, and he was given a few lines only. but it's enough to make me miss watching his movies. perhaps "Hancock" riviu after this?