Many studios, including DreamWorks Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, passed on this movie. 20th Century Fox finally agreed when Ben Stiller reduced his salary to well under $1 million. As of March 2005, the movie has grossed over $124 million, when it only cost $23 million to make.
The unrated DVD contains a fake commentary where Ben Stiller and two main actors do nothing but fight, as well as claim to hate each other, before storming out forty minutes in. The commentary is then replaced with the commentary for There's Something About Mary (1998). The real commentary is on the DVD as an Easter egg.
EASTER EGG: On the Special Features section on the DVD, if you click on the Globo Gym logo at the bottom, you will see a short video with White Goodman talking about Easter eggs on the DVD. He tells you that if you press enter every time he snaps his fingers you will see an Easter egg. These "Easter Eggs" are deleted scenes not included with those in the Special Features. There are four White Goodman finger snaps in the movie. The first comes as he gets into the tanning bed, the next when he sends the lawyer out of his office, when motioning his team to leave the pub, the next as he motions for Me'Shell Jones to pick him up from Kate Veatch's porch, and the last, when he motions Me'Shell to give him the contract for Peter to sign at the hotel room in Vegas.
When the Average Joes are in the locker room waiting for their teammates before the final match, all the players are wearing pants except Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor), who is wearing shorts. Listening to the DVD commentary, this can be heard that she had pants but refused to wear them, because she thought they were too ugly and unflattering.
At the movie's ending when White Goodman commits a foot foul, his diatribe about being out here and working his butt off and the referee making a poor call like the one he made is meant to mock the similar diatribe made by Jimmy Connors at the 1991 U.S. Open when he said, "I'm out here at thirty-nine-years-old working my butt off, and you make a call like that?!"
Patches O'Houlihan (Rip Torn) says "It's like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob." This is a reference to "It's like watching a monkey trying to hump a football", which was what 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks said to his team when they were preparing for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York.
In the United States, the movie is promoted with the tagline "Grab life by the ball". In foreign markets such as the United Kingdom and Australia, this is changed to the more risqué "Grab life by the balls".
Patton Oswalt did the Foley work (voice) for the scene where Ben Stiller is having his "'private time' ...with sour cream on top..." He also voiced the video store clerk calling about the three overdue videos at the movie's beginning.
Norm MacDonald can be seen in some of the Globo Gym scenes; one is in the Globo Gym commercial, where he is in the background working out. At one point, he is talking to some girl who is working out, and this looks like he is hitting on her.
Another Easter egg/finger snap is after the scene in White Goodman's office where he asks out Kate Beatch. He snaps for Me'shell Jones. When you press enter, this cuts to a clip of the dodgeball game and then a fat Ben Stiller says, "You found it."
According to the Globo Gym commercial at the movie's beginning, the story supposedly takes place in 1993. When White says he is not only the founder of Globo Gym, but he is also a client, a picture of White is then shown with White's name and the year 1987. While White continues to narrate the commercial, he says, "This was me, six years and six hundred pounds pounds ago..."
Before the final match, the crowd cheers "let them play" while the tournament committee decides if the match will go on. This is a tribute to the the scene in The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977), where the Astrodome crowd shouts the same cheer to let the teams keep playing.
The team names of Average Joe's Gym (Average Joe's) and Globo Gym (Purple Cobras) are similar to the names of the protagonists and antagonists (the G.I. Joe team and Cobra Command) in the Hasbro toyline G.I. Joe.
Patches O'Houlihan's (Rip Torn) jacket features unit patches for several U.S. Army units, some of which are: I Corps, 16th Military Police Brigade (missing Airborne tab), 75th Infantry Division, 103rd Infantry Division, and U.S. Army Special Forces (missing Airborne tab; patch is also sewn on upside down).
In the locker room scene before the first dodgeball match, there is an announcer voice that talks much through the scene. As everyone is warming up before play, the announcer says: "A reminder, all players must be vaccinated for cholera, syphilis and shingles before play begins. Again, dyslexic players will not be allowed on the court. Team Blitzkrieg, to the tournament floor for a first round match. Only ADAA balls will be used. Personal balls of any kind are strictly prohibited."
In the scene where Peter walks into his hotel room and White and Me'Shell are there waiting for him, White says, "¿Donde está la biblioteca?" In translation, it means "Where is the library?" (in Spanish).
The song that was playing during the introduction of the first team that the Average Joe's plays (The Girl Scouts) is the same song that is played during the introduction of the last match (when they play Globo Gym).
Alan Tudyk had come onto this movie following the cancellation of his television series Firefly (2002), in which he starred as pilot Hoban "Wash" Washburne. The series was about pirates living and working in outer space, trying to make a living. In this movie, his character Steve thinks he's a pirate.
In a scene together, Ben Stiller's character comments on Christine Taylor's "see her lovely bone structure". In their first movie together, Zoolander, Ben's character makes a similar comment to "show her bone structure".
Through the course of this movie, Kate Veatch's (Christine Taylor) clothes get lighter and lighter. In her first scene, she wears a white button shirt with black lines, a black jacket, a grey skirt, has her hair up, and wears heels. In her next scene, she wears a pinkish gray button shirt with ruffles on her sleeves, a long tight black skirt, and wears flats. In her third scene, she wears a pink button shirt, and black pants. In her next scene, she wears a pink shirt with no collar, and black pants. In her fifth scene, she wears sweat pants, and a sloppy t-shirt.
Assuming that the car wash is intended to be in the same area as Average Joe's and Globo Gym, the two gyms are located in Altadena, California. However, this is not the case. The car washes were filmed in Altadena, but Average Joe's was filmed in downtown Los Angeles at a location 14.2 miles (22.7 kilometers) away.
On April 22, 2013, 20th Century Fox announced that a sequel to this movie was developing, with Clay Tarver writing the screenplay and Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller returning to star. However, Stiller has since stated that he was not aware that a sequel was happening.
The scene where they filmed the Dirty Sanchez (which is actually called the Garage Motor Club) is located only about two miles from a filming location in Private School (1983), where the Rolls-Royce ended up in the pool.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The words "Deus Ex Machina" are printed on the side of the treasure chest at the movie's ending. "Deus Ex Machina" is a Latin phrase meaning "god from the machine", and is derived from a plot device in ancient Greek drama by which a "god" was lowered to the stage by a crane ("machine") to solve a problem which the human characters could not. It's used to describe an improbable event bringing a solution to a seemingly impossible problem. The "deus ex machina" in this film takes place when Peter bets on Average Joe's to win the final tournament by using the bribe money White paid him, then using his winnings from the bet to buy the majority stocks of Globo Gym, thereby becoming the owner of both Average Joe's and Globo Gym.
At the movie's ending, ESPN 8 announcer Cotton McKnight says, "Do you believe in unlikelihoods? Yes!" This comment is a play on the famous exclamation by Al Michaels, when the United States beat Russia in hockey at the 1980 Olympics, saying, "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"
The DVD contains an alternate ending where Average Joe's team loses the final match, and the movie goes to the credits as the announcer exclaims that they are going home with absolutely nothing. This was apparently sacked after test audiences were unhappy with it.
David Hasselhoff's brief cameo as the German team coach is a reference to Hasselhoff's status as a million-selling pop star in Germany. His character throws down a framed promo photo of himself from Baywatch (1989).
In the climactic scene of the final Dodgeball match, TV announcer Cotton McKnight uses the term "Down goes Goodman! Down goes Goodman!" This is a reference to Howard Cosell's famous call from the Heavyweight 1973 championship fight between George Foreman and Joe Frazier, in which he shouted, "Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!"
After the credits, when the morbidly obese White Goodman does a little dance to Kelis' "Milkshake" song, it is a reference to a viral video clip that circulated on the Internet, where an extremely large black woman does the same dance.
In the scene where Me'Shell walks in on White shoving pizza down his pants, White's "G" pendant on his necklace becomes unhooked and dangles mysteriously from his shirt and is clearly not on the chain anymore.
At the end of the film, the treasure chest with Peter's (Vince Vaughn) gambling winnings.is inscribed with the term "Deus Ex Machina". This refers to the plot device where a seemingly unsolvable problem is remarkably and abruptly resolved in a story.