Even if you spent your high-school years as a 90-pound weakling, the type to get picked last in gym and take showers in your underwear, with a little distance you should be able to recognize a universal truth: Watching someone get repeatedly whapped in the head with a ball is pretty frickin’ hilarious. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is about as sophisticated as the game it celebrates, but still “the sport of violence, exclusion, and degradation” is comic gold. Written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, creator of Reebok’s Office Linebacker commercial, Dodgeball shifts the cool-kids-vs.-geeks dynamic to the business world. Ben Stiller, with highlights and handlebar mustache, is White Goodman, overcompensating owner of Globo Gym (ad pitch: “Tired of being overweight and underattractive? It’s your fault if you don’t hate yourself enough to do something about it!”). Vince Vaughn is White’s less-than-competitor Peter La Fleur, the good-guy proprietor of Average Joe’s, which is less a gym than a haven for broke misfits. When the bank is about to foreclose on Peter, he and his freak customers decide to compete in the Las Vegas International Dodgeball Open to win the $50,000 Peter needs to keep White from taking over his place. Stiller’s manic-dumb-guy overacting is nicely balanced by Vaughn’s deadpan—a blank stare that, actually, has been mastered by all the actors who make up Peter’s team, including Stephen Root (Office Space’s Milton), Christine Taylor, and Justin Long, the abuse of whom is a continual highlight. The humor doesn’t get much more intelligent than “Cram it up your cramhole, La Fleur!” but c’mon, we’re talking about a game whose whole point is…well, you know. Some bad memories may resurface whenever the more nerdly players get pummeled—not to mention at taunts such as “You’re adopted. Your parents don’t even love you!”—but Dodgeball knows that laughter is the first step to healing. —Tricia Olszewski