The Austin Chronicle


Rated PG-13, 90 min. Directed by Sidney J. Furie. Starring Rodney Dangerfield, Jackée, Jonathan Brandis, Ilene Graff.

REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., April 3, 1992

Whether doing a stand-up comedy routine or acting in a movie, Rodney Dangerfield is a physical mess: his shoulders roll and his feet shuffle so much that he appears to have lost his center of gravity. (An extended potbelly custom-made for stretch polyester doesn't help.) Dangerfield has fashioned a film career capitalizing on his brand of put-down humor and déclassé charms, and Ladybugs is no exception. As the coach of a girl's soccer team who recruits a boy to play in drag to improve the team's championship chances, Dangerfield is -- initially, at least -- long on insults and short on respect, especially for women. Before the movie's over, however, a kinder, gentler Dangerfield emerges, one who turns his old-school comedy of patented sexism upside-down when he gives his girls a feminist speech inspiring them to victory. Admittedly, Ladybugs is a clapboard of a movie, but it's a genial, harmless one. The misfit antics of the soccer games are good for a few laughs, although Michael Ritchie's 1976 film The Bad News Bears is far superior in that area of comedy. Regardless, when you find yourself ashamedly laughing at Ladybugs, remember that comedy was never meant to be politically correct.

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