Follow TV Tropes


Film / Ladybugs

Go To

Ladybugs is a 1992 comedy film directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Rodney Dangerfield.

The film centers around Chester Lee (Dangerfield), an average Joe who agrees to coach his company's girls soccer team in the hopes of earning a promotion. When the team turns out to be... less prepared than expected, Chester enlists his fiancée's teenaged son to help, disguising him as a girl. Hilarity Ensues.

This film contains examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: Chester hits Dave with two of these for not wanting Kimberly to ruin their chances of winning the championship.
    Dave: Chester, you've forgotten what's important here.
    Chester: I didn't forget; you forgot. What's more important: that strangers look up to you or your own kid?
    Dave: Look, Chester, I just wanna win today. I only want the best out there.
    Chester: The best, the best. That's all I keep hearing. You wanna be the best. Well, lemme ask ya this: what good is bein' the best, if it brings out the worst in ya?
  • Artistic License Sports: One of the girls very roughly shoves an opposing player to the ground while "psyching them out" and somehow avoids any kind of penalty from the ref. This is following one of her teammates getting ejected for fighting, and well after a rival coach got a reprimand for throwing a chair and tripping a player.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Matthew and Kimberly at the end, even before their first date.
  • Big Fancy House: The Mullens have this.
  • Catchphrase: Dangerfield's "I get no respect" is nicely reversed at the end, as he tells the camera, "I finally got some respect!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: Matthew's mother Bess visits Chester and tells him that all Matthew can think about is sports just when he's coaching a soccer team.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Inverted. Kimberly Mullen tries to kick a few goals but fails miserably each time. She barely succeeds in making the game-winning goal at the championship game.
  • Clark Kenting: Matthew does this in a single scene when Kimberly shows up at Matthew's house to hang out with "Martha" when Matthew's mother gets home.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Carmelita Chu collects butterflies. It takes Chester a while to figure out a way to keep her head in the game.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Matthew has a crush on Kimberly Mullen who is on the (Mullen Industries-sponsored) girls' soccer team that Chester, his mother's fiancé, has to coach for his boss, Kimberly's father.
  • Disguised in Drag: In order to help Chester get a promotion at work (and get close to his boss's daughter Kimberly Mullen), Matt becomes "Martha".

  • Gilligan Cut: When Matthew strongly protests Chester's idea of dressing him like a girl to help the team, the very next scene is him wearing the Ladybugs team uniform and a blonde wig, very reluctant, with Chester introducing him to the other girls as "Martha."
  • The Glasses Come Off: Penny Pester does this and let's her hair down during a game for her coach that made her realize her inner beauty and then scoring a goal for the team.
  • Good-Times Montage: When the Ladybugs start winning games all the way to the championship game, with Dangerfield and Jackée actually singing Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire."
  • Here We Go Again!: In addition to getting his promotion, Chester is coaching the company's girls softball team. Cue a bunch of boys in wigs.
  • Honor Before Reason: Kimberly is the daughter of Chester's boss, but she's not very good at soccer, so Dave pressures Chester to drop her in order to increase their chances of winning the girls soccer championship. Despite his promotion being on the line, Chester ultimately can't go through with hurting the kid and has her among the starting players. When confronted about this, Chester tells Dave off for valuing a game more than his daughter and says he doesn't care if he gets fired.
  • Imagine Spot/Love at First Sight: Matthew sees Kimberly at the soccer field then daydreams their life as a couple, even getting married, all to the tune of "All I Have To Do Is Dream" by The Everly Brothers, implying that he's had a crush on her for a while.
  • Irony: Kimberly Mullen is probably one of the worst players and is only on the team due to nepotism. She scores the winning goal for the team at the end.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Matthew calls Chester "Chesterfield."
  • Male Gaze: Mrs. Mullens, the Trophy Wife.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Towards the end, as Chester's plot is exposed and Bess throws him out, Chester's attempts to explain his troubles to a bartender could probably have been worded better - "I dressed her son up like a girl and talked him into playin' with me..."
    • Earlier in the movie, Chester is in a dressing room with Matthew, helping him try on girl's clothes. During this, Matt is crying out in pain, and Chester is making comments like "Your mother would kill me if she knew about this", and "If it's too tight, you'll get used to it!". The two emerge from the dressing room, with Matt now looking like a girl. Chester, spotting a real little girl with her mother, greets her, causing the girl's mother to faint.
  • Oh, Crap!: Matthew's reaction when Kimberly shows up at "Martha's" house to watch TV.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: When Julie tells Chester says that black people are better at sports, Chester retorts by bringing up water polo, badminton, yachting, and fox hunting.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted when Kimberly doesn't recognize Matthew underneath a wig but played straight when his mother recognizes him instantly.
  • Product Placement: Chester's minivan is a 1991 Pontiac Trans Sport SE, one of several "Dustbuster" minivans that General Motors offered at the time of the film's release. In fact, when he arrives to work, he parks beside a row of identical Trans Sports vans, with the Mullen Industries logo on them.
    • Though they were good-quality minivans, the Dustbuster-esque design was often ridiculed by the general public so they, like Dangerfield, got no respect!
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Downplayed; when a rocky practice session has one player get stuck in the net and another player unable to kick a ball out of a field, Chester looks straight up to the sky with his bullhorn and asks "Why me?" twice.
  • Rocky Roll Call: A brief instance of this happens when Matthew tries to sneak into the house as "Martha" but his mother catches him then Chester walks in.
  • Rule of Three: When Mr. Mullen tells Chester to "win the game, win the game, win the game" which is immediately followed by Chester telling Julie to "get the book, get the book, get the book."
  • Sassy Black Woman: This film has two - Chester's assistant Julie and Nancy Larimar, the last remaining member of the "Ladybug Dynasty".
  • Save Our Team: The Ladybugs have fallen on hard times, with only one player from their winning season still on the team.
  • Shout-Out: While being shown a prospective house with Bess, Chester snarks The Addams Family used to live there.
  • Tempting Fate: After Chester tells Julie they will coach a girls soccer team for Mr. Mullen, he asks "How hard can it be?" They lose their first game 9-0.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The look on Chester's face when he realizes he has to pickup "Martha" as her "mother" so the soccer team doesn't find out about Matthew.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Matt only poses as a girl so that he can play soccer and help Chester get a promotion (as well as get to know Kimberly).
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Chester delivers this kind of speech to poor, nervous Penny Pester.