Ladybugs: Rodney Dangerfield's not-so-finest hour

In this series of articles, CBC Sports will highlight some of film and television contributions to the world of soccer. This entry, we look at the 90’s hit, Ladybugs.

That's one way to get respect, maybe

In this series, CBC Sports continues its humorous and slightly offside look at the soccer content in popular movies and TV shows. Expect mixed results.

This piece focuses on the 90’s hit(?), Ladybugs.


Rodney Dangerfield gets into hilarious hijinks and commits several possible felonies in this soccer comedy that's fun for all ages but most offensive to adults because they will feel the pain of the jokes most acutely.   

The late Dangerfield plays Chester, a man who wants a promotion at his job, so he offers to coach his boss’s soccer team. He knows nothing about soccer nor is the girls’ team that good, so right away the potential for conflict and emotional drama is high.  

Chester coerces his fiancee’s son to dress as a girl and play for the team, creating bundles of uncomfortable comedic situations while at the same time carrying a meaningful message about women in sport — that they shouldn't sport unless accompanied by a male. 

But before the Big Game, the ruse is revealed, forcing the girls to overcome the greatest challenge of them all: Nailbreakers.

They win (spoiler alert). 

Think of it as Twelfth Night, but with more soccer and yelling, and less puns. For more soccer-related cross-dressing fun, please don’t check out She’s The Man because you will never get your time back, no matter how many wishes you make in that water fountain. 

Football realism meter

Once you get past the whole cross-dressing situation, it’s a pretty accurate representation of house league soccer. Plus it has the best stepover move you’ll see in a film that features Rodney Dangerfield coaching a women’s soccer team in the 1990’s. 

There isn’t any blatant “rule” against men dressing up as women and taking the pitch in the trusty FIFA guide, but it’s comforting to know that this hasn’t been tried enough in The Beautiful Game to warrant mention yet. Or if it has, it was stricken from history. Like in Russia. Or Qatar. (On an unrelated note, where are the next two World Cups again?)

Either way, it’s not like anyone would be crazy enough to actually do it. 

As a bonus, try to guess how many crimes Dangerfield is committing with his mind during this scene. Then scratch your eyes out as you force yourself to forget.

IMDB Reviews

These are actual reviews written by actual people.

“Ladybugs is one of a handful of films that made me want to be a film maker. Seriously!”

A young Christopher Nolan finds his path.

“***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** You wouldn't guess what the movie was about when you heard the name "ladybugs." You'd think it would be a story about ladybugs, but it isn't. It is called ladybugs because that is the name of the soccer team. It is a girls soccer team.”

By spoiling that you ruined about a million dollars worth of guerrilla marketing that fooled people into thinking they were watching an insect documentary. 

Final rating

Seven poorly fitting wigs. 


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