Hey Folks, DY here back temporarily from his self-imposed exile to review Lady Ballers! What’s the most important thing when making a comedy? That it has a bit of truth in the things it’s skewering. What’s the co-most important thing? That it’s funny. Lady Ballers gets the first part right (as opposed to SNL which has been neither truthful or funny for decades.) It’s the second part that’s a problem.
The story is very typical 80s/90s comedy set up. The tone is nearly farcical, with ridiculous out of left field gags similar to Airplane occasionally. But mostly this seems to share DNA from movies like Happy Gilmore. Down on his luck athlete/coach finds a way to win and become a national sensation. But in this case, it’s all done with guys destroying women’s sports in the guise of Trans-rights.
Look I appreciate where the movie’s heart is. A skewering of the woke nonsense is needed. But it’s got to be funny. This really isn’t. I don’t think I laughed once. Maybe an occasional smile.
The biggest weak link in all this is its star, Jeremy Boering. If you can imagine a guy who made a successful media company, and finally has enough money to realize his dream of starring in his own movie, then you get it. Sure, he can do it and it’s his money, but he’s not an actor. His demeanor and delivery feel like a guy who’s watched a lot of comedies and is trying to do what they did but it all is a flimsy impression of a comedic actor. He just doesn’t have the “it” factor that makes a great comic actor. A different Jeremy, like Jeremy Piven, would’ve worked so much better.
Some of the gags are fine but it never quite commits to the bits. For instance, Boering is somewhat strong armed into doing this nonsense by a female reporter that’s a psychotic lunatic. There are a couple of other reporters that do some news gags here and there (played by Daily Wire regulars) that also exhibit plenty of cowardice but it’s not enough. If you want to show the media are insane psychos, which they ARE, then show it. Don’t have someone casually mention it in passing.
Secondly, because of what the Lady Ballers are doing, it’s very difficult to be on their side. Which is the POINT, but that’s also a problem to keep you engaged in the movie. I will say it ends well with a good lesson but it’s hard to see these guys as anything other than a bunch of douchebags taking advantage of a political situation. When they are clearly not only beating the crap out of the women on the court, they are also physically beating the crap out of them. It’s done with women taking basketballs to the head or body checked on the floor, but it’s not funny, it’s cringey. Sure, the tables are turned on the Lady Ballers when another team decides to substitute in a bunch of bigger, black players but it still doesn’t work.
I did like the ending which did go a way I wasn’t expecting and was kinda sweet. But by then I was a bit exhausted.
Other times the Daily Wire guys couldn’t resist doing what they do best, blasting out a pile of statistics to emphasize a point. Great stuff in a YAF speech, not great in a comedy movie.
I wonder if this would’ve worked better from the female perspective. The women’s team is being overrun by Trans men teams and they need to fight back, recruiting these guys to try to compete or something. I don’t know, it’s just hard to be sympathetic when several players start out saying “This is wrong” and then do it anyway. Yes yes, they all change their minds later, lessons learned,etc. Also since they all need to lose, they are ok at the end because of the deus ex machina of one of their players being filthy rich. So they aren’t left destitute and shunned, which is what should’ve happened to them. South Park tackled this so much better.
I hate to rag on this movie because we do need more like this. People willing to make movies that skewer the status quo are a hallmark of great comedies. Sadly, this is not a great comedy.