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There has be a lack of great comedy pictures in the last year, and it may not be because studios aren’t trying, but when sequels to endless franchises and old comedic directors attempting to relive former glory, it is hard to get a fresh new idea that brings more to the table than your average racial jokes and footballs to the crotch. Luckily there are studios and producers out there who are willing to take a risk on a new idea and introduce the world to comedy at its finest. This summer first time writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber introduced Dodgeball to us and comedy and sports movie fans will immediately fall in love with this picture.

Dodgeball stars Ben Stiller as White Goodman the face behind one of those massive sports clubs that are, “…better than you, and we know it.” Right across the street we have Average Joe’s Gym composed of a group of guys who just hang out, have fun, and, occasionally, work out. The problem arises when Vince Vaughn’s character of Peter La Fleur is $50,000 in the hole via backed taxes. He only finds out when a beautiful lawyer played by the equally beautiful Christine Taylor pays him a visit. Seeking an opportunity to put the eyesore out of business Goodman decides to buy Average Joe’s and build a parking structure. When the group is made aware of a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas with a championship award of $50,000 the fun really begins.

The beauty of Dodgeball is the fact that it doesn’t take itself, or anything for that matter, too seriously. The movie knows what it is and is written merely for enjoyment. After seeing the film, however, you may wonder why the big awards shows don’t honor comedy as much as drama considering a great comedy can liven anyone’s day up, but a great drama will usually pull you down. Still, award show bashing aside, Dodgeball really is an underdog story. The movie virtually came out of nowhere, it is from a first time writer/director, and doesn’t feature one of the Wayans brothers in-front of the camera or a Coen brother behind, and still manages to be one of the best comedies all year.

Stiller himself has had his ups and downs this year with the average Along Came Polly and the great buddy-comedy Starsky & Hutch. Vince Vaughn basically plays the exact character he plays in all of his movies, but to much success. The calm, collected, cool guy suits him well and just his facial expressions in reaction to Stiller’s over the top fitness guru are enough to have you in tears at some parts of the film. Stiller’s real-life wife, Christine Taylor, emerges once again in one of her husband’s movies but this time she is really able to show the comedic prowess that we can only hope they pass on to their children.

Not to be outdone the supporting cast adds life to the film as well. Standing out among them is the foul-mouthed, sharp tongued Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn) who brings hilarity to every scene he is in until his unfortunate fight with the Luck of the Irish. Stephen Root’s Gordon is a less stressed out version of Milton from Office Space. Alan Tudyk’s Steve the Pirate is also another colorful, and memorable character from the film as a man who really believes he is a pirate.  All in all the entire cast is very strongly placed in their parts and it makes the movie gel all that much better.

Dodgeball is something I like to see during the summer months, an original concept in a sea of over-budgeted flops and inane Hollywood schlock. Dodgeball is a great example of a film that came to fruition because of a good idea and not the belief that dollar signs would follow. If you are looking for a laugh, complete with ball and crotch jokes, give Dodgeball a look, but if you want a feel good story…well, you might also want to check out Dodgeball.

From a Roland Emmerich film you can expect three things, unrelenting peril, awesome special effects, and laughably bad dialog. With The Day After Tomorrow you get all three of these things, pumped up on steroids, and busting through the closest wall, unfortunately the shock and awe of the special effects aren’t enough to outweigh the implausible story elements.

The Day After Tomorrow enlightens us to the fact that global warming is destroying the planet and from the film’s very first scene we know that this will be constantly brought up, like a bad public service announcement on how not carpooling or methane emissions from cows are destroying our planet. Unfortunately we didn’t need a two hour film to tell us this fact by the shear number of complete a-holes trolling around in SUVs and thinking they are mightier than thou. I digress. Tomorrow shows us the effects of another ice age encapsulating our planet and making life difficult to survive in sub artic temperatures.

Tomorrow focuses on Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid), a paleo-climatologist, who believes that the polar ice caps will melt and will cause tragic events on the weather of the planet. The Vice President doesn’t believe him (how surprising), and his own theories don’t foresee anything happening for another 100 years. But after it begins snowing in tropical regions and tornados tear apart Los Angeles, people finally start thinking he might be right. Like Independence Day before it, Tomorrow features the calm, collected scientist solving a problem with the help form his assists and ultimately saving the world. Jack, however, sets out on a daring journey to the recently flooded and frozen New York City to rescue his son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal).

The main problems with Tomorrow are the increasingly ludicrous plot points that Emmerich throws at us. Things start out with the “super-storms” that are crossing the globe, freezing everything in their path in a matter of seconds. By far, these storms have to be the lamest antagonists this side of “the website” in feardotcom. Still, as if freezing storms weren’t enough, we also have to deal with a boy who has cancer and can’t be moved without an ambulance, a girl who gets a blood infection, and, most ridiculous point of all, hungry wolves. The story tries to be much more serious than it should, and with the aforementioned wolves and their subsequent attack on the survivors in New York, you know that Emmerich was really stretching to find something to pad the script after the destruction of New York and LA only took 15 minutes of film to accomplish.

The shining moment of the film, and most likely one of the funniest bits in cinema all year (intentional or not) is the newscast about illegal immigration of US citizens to Mexico. While people in any state except Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and California may not laugh, those who have to deal with the situation find it extremely funny.

The Day After Tomorrow isn’t all bad though, if anything it presents some of the most beautiful and jaw-dropping special effects not seen since the conclusion of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The sight of massive tornados ripping apart the greater LA area or a wall of water slamming into New York City will leave you speechless. In fact, if the film was just 90 minutes of natural disasters it might be more entertaining than inane plot point after plot point.

For fans of the director and massive-end-of-the-world films, The Day After Tomorrow may please you enough to hold out for the next big thing. For those of us expecting something to go along with the digital imagery, you will be sorely disappointed in the unintentionally funny story that really stretches the bounds of believability. Scientists may call the movie’s premise bad science, and artists may call the effects beautiful, but as a film summed up to a whole, The Day After Tomorrow is a wall of water that doesn’t leave you very wet at all.