Focused And Relentless Absurdity, Plus Ben Stiller


Sporting a Dirty Mind-era Prince ‘do, the ubiquitous Ben Stiller is nicely unbuttoned as White Goodman, head of a health club that he runs like Big Brother. He plans to buy out Average Joe’s, a neighboring gym so low-key that owner Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) doesn’t bother collecting dues. When one of La Fleur’s patrons, a reader of Obscure Sports Quarterly, discovers that the world dodgeball tournament has a prize purse of exactly the amount needed to keep Average Joe’s open, the absurdity is focused and relentless. White’s Globo Gym team is there, ready to put the kibosh on La Fleur and co.’s dreams. The competition play-by-play, courtesy of an old smoothy and a space cadet (Gary Cole and Jason Bateman), is wonderfully limber and insipid; of the inevitable Average-Globo matchup, the former intones, “And the stage is set for Darwin’s cruelest play to begin.” The DVD offers an unrated version, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and plenty of featurettes.