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"Lady Ballers" Review

 While there has been a recent resurgence in raunchy comedies in recent years, it seems to have been mostly limited to female-led films like Girls Trip, Rough Night, Joy Ride, and No Hard Feelings. Part of this trend is likely a "Why not let the ladies be pigs?" premise, but a lot of it is that comedy in general is crippled by fear and timidity due to the rampaging woke mobs who are seeking to be triggered and then cancel anyone who offends these snowflakes.

A movie like Blazing Saddles could NEVER be made today (and frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't been ordered destroyed by the government for being all -ist and -phobic). When Tropic Thunder was in production, there was a minor freakout over Robert Downey Jr. being in "blackface", but when it came out it was hailed as a genius performance and even garnered an Oscar nomination. (He may've even won if not for his competition being Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight, which no one was going to not lose to.) Nowadays, the performance probably wouldn't be allowed in the first place and the movie protested at theaters because no humor is allowed in the world unless it's directed at the only permissible targets: straight white male Christians. You can beat those monsters up at will.

So into this environment comes the oddball sports comedy from conservative news and nascent entertainment producer Daily Wire, Lady Ballers, a mashup of sports comedies like BASEketball and Dodgeball with a dollop of withering social commentary about the current fad of cheering men beating the hell out of women in sports if they "identity" as female and has led to many female athletes having their sports dreams sacrificed on the altar of wokeness. (Sorry, ladies, men are just better women than you!)

 Director, co-writer, and lower-case G lower-case K god-king, co-founder and CEO of the Daily Wire Jeremy Borering stars as Coach Rob, a three-time Tennessee state high school basketball champion whose last victory was in 2008 and is currently reduced to attempting to get kids at a rec center to put down their phones and play sports and stop stealing the catalytic converter off his car. He's divorced and his hot ex-wife, Dharby (Lexie Contursi), is now shacked up with a weird hippie, Kris (Matt Walsh), who has put "In this house..." signs and rainbow flags all over.

 One day while picking up his 8-year-old daughter, Winnie (Rosie Seraphine Harper), from school, Rob is horrified to learn that a "girl" showed "her" penis to her in the bathroom and the other woke trash that kids are being indoctrinated in these days. He then goes to apply for a job at a place he used to work 25 years before and discovers that it has been turned into a restaurant where all the servers are men dressed in drag (take that, Hooters!) including a former player from the 2008 team, Alex (Daniel Considine). 

When he realizes Alex still has good speed for his age, combined with Winnie's information about how men can be women, he decides to have Alex compete in a local women's sports competition to win the $5000 prize. Naturally, being a much larger and stronger man he mops the floor with the poor biological women and wins all his events, attracting the attention of a local reporter, Gwen (Billie Rae Brandt), who tells of this stunning and brave woman.

With a Global Games open competition coming, Rob and Alex decide to get the old team back together to enter as women. They then round up brawling brothers Jake and Blain Crain (hosts of Daily Wire's Crain & Co. sports talk show), center David Cone (who was a University of Michigan quarterback in real life and is also on Crain & Co.), and short team equipment manager/bullying target turned millionaire Felix (Tyler Fischer) and with Gwen handling the media exposure, march their way to the glory by walloping the female teams, garnering sponsorships from Bud Light (heh) and cosmetics companies and tons of social media followers. (Felix vlogging on her first day as a sports girl is wicked.)

 Evaluating Lady Ballers is a little complicated due to its origins and market targeting. At the most basic level does it do the core task of any comedy: Is it funny? Yes, it is, with many more laughs than the woeful Freelance (written by a Jimmy Kimmel Live writer, which explains the lack of funny) delivered. It mocks the sports movie tropes of inspirational speeches and montages set to cheesy power-rock tunes (by Will Borering, presumably a relative of the director) and the absurdity of big men clobbering women in sports to the cheers of people who either don't know this is ridiculous or are, more likely, too afraid to speak out against these travesties.

But while the liberal media is setting their hair on fire over Lady Ballers, falsely accusing it of being "transphobic" (really working hard there, hacks) and anti-Semitic (an absolute lie with the only trace of religion being noted Orthodox Jew Ben Shapiro wearing a kippeh during his cameo as a referee), their hysterical reaction only confirms the truth of the joke "How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?" "THAT'S NOT FUNNY!!!!" Liberals are so humorless, uptight, miserable, and devoid of joy that they cannot allow themselves to laugh at anything, least of all themselves and their insipid woke ideology.

The joke of Lady Ballers isn't to mock those poor souls suffering from mental illnesses that cause them to reject their biology and seek comfort in mutilating their bodies to match their warped self-image, but to call out the inconvenient truth that the vast majority of "trans" athletes are men who can't compete against other men, so have invaded women's sports where even the top female athletes can't compete against the most mediocre men. William "Lia" Thomas was a mediocre men's swimmer until he declared he was a female and became the NCAA women's champion. (The fact that he has a fetish where he gets off walking around in front of women with a full erection of his lady penis and if the girls have a problem with it, they're the bigots, is just a bonus.) 

So when a female wrestler is picked up and slammed to the mat by a guy a foot taller (yes, that wouldn't happen due to weight classes), it seems absurd, but it also comments on how there have been "trans" MMA fighters who have fractured the skulls of bio-female opponents and bio-female volleyball players with concussions from having a dude spike the ball in their face. 

But off the court the mental pretzels people tie themselves into to go with the zeitgeist's demands that we applaud these men as braving and stun in dominating women is amusingly dealt with as we watch a pair of TV news anchors (Brett Cooper and Michael Knowles) go through so much sensitivity training that they transform into, well, you'll see. 

But beyond the meta commentary on gender and sports, there's a good set of character arcs about the various men learning what it truly means to be a winner. The "guy who never stops talking about how he won the Big Game in high school" trope is a stock story element, but resolved nicely. While Gwen is openly aware that she is a shameless journalist who will drive a narrative for her own purposes, she also gives a telling mini-lecture about the damage divorce does to children concluding, "Didn't you guys think to Google this before blowing the world your child lives on up?" While it's mocking AND succumbing to the apropos of nothing soapbox moments many movies shoehorn in where someone randomly spews statistics about some pet liberal cause ("Ma'am, this is a Wendy's.") it's also unique in the message coming from the Right encouraging parents to think of the children for a change.

Which leads to the next odd element of Lady Ballers, the casting. When they say it's a Daily Wire+ film, they mean it literally in that nearly every role is played by Daily Wire show hosts with those not in main roles making cameos. Apparently, when Borering was casting the film, actors who'd previously expressed interest in being in DW projects or had been cancelled suddenly got cold feet at the subject matter (genuinely surprised Gina Carano and Rob Schneider, who voices the father on the Bentkey cartoon Chilla Time don't appear) so it was all staff on deck supplemented by actors who are sadly probably going to be blackballed by Hollyweird for leaving the plantation.

But despite most of the lead cast (the Crain brothers, Cone, Walsh, Borering) not being actors, the performances are better than you'd expect, better say than the cast of Clerks. My girlfriend didn't recognize Borering from the classic Jeremy's Razors announce trailer and thought he was just some indie actor and he does a fine job in the lead role as a man struggling with his mantra of "Winners are just losers who win" and disgusted with what he's done to win.

Also a standout is Brandt making her acting debut as the conniving reporter. She's got a Halston Sage/Scarlett Johansson vibe and should be able to have a career except she's probably on a blacklist somewhere because to those who control Hollyweird, working for THOSE PEOPLE is like appearing in something called Why The KKK Is A-OK. Contursi is hot as evidenced by her five episodes as a Laker Girl on Winning Time, but her career is also likely dead as are the guys who dared participate in what will be portrayed as a "transphobic cinematic hate crime" by liars who own the Criterion Blu-ray of Some Like It Hot and are so irony-deficient as to not see what they're doing.

Which leads to the final question: Who is Lady Ballers for? Apparently an attempt was made to put it in theaters and no one wanted to touch it. But considering half the fun is seeing Daily Wire personalities on screen (especially What Is A Woman's Walsh as a hippie dippy twerp or Shapiro as a foul-mouthed over-it ref), would it land with as much with gen pop audiences? Probably, because it is funny enough and the total lack of familiar faces didn't damage Clerks. Also sports comedies, which were common in the 1990s and 2000s, seemed to go extinct after 2007's Blades of Glory (where Will Ferrell and Jon Heder became a male pairs figure skating team) so why wouldn't it be a potential modest box office success?

I have been critical of Daily Wire's strategy of confining their movies to the ghetto of their Daily Wire+ service because it allows the dominant liberal media to pigeonhole them as "trash for conservative rubes" and it puts content that politically agnostic audiences may enjoy behind a paywall that is too high for the meager movie offerings therein. Daily Wire is by its nature conservative-oriented and even though they have deliberately not made their movies particularly political - Run Hide Fight and Shut In were good small dramas; I wasn't very too fond of The Hyperions beyond its style - unless someone wants the video versions of their podcasts (which are available for free on X/Twitter) or the Jordan Peterson and Prager University stuff as well as the non-political Bentkey children's edutainment service (which was initially going to be called DW Kids until they realized the associating with the parent site would make it seem political), no one is paying for the handful of movies. (I just let my subscription run out because I never watched their content and their app didn't download podcasts, so what's the point?) If you know where to look online, you can find their movies (nudge wink), but why they aren't making them available to rent/buy on iTunes/Vudu/Amazon/YouTube remains a mystery. Disney just put out 4K discs of WandaVision and Loki, so don't tell me you can't sell streaming exclusives outside the platform.

The fact that all these sidebars, explainers, and digressions which complicate what should be a straightforward review illustrates the actual "problem" Lady Ballers has: It's a funny-enough sports comedy (though a bit too long as everything is these days; anything over 90 minutes is suspect to me) with surprisingly good performances from its non-thespian cast; a good story with well-drawn characters (as far as these types of movies go) and something to say about masculinity, femininity, and how there doesn't need to be a war between the sexes - there's a great scene where Rob cheers up Winnie by explaining that while men will always be bigger and stronger, without the civilizing influence of women, there would be no civilization, so who is really the most powerful - while rightfully lampooning the woketarded political correctness which currently controls our culture to the point where you can't even laugh at it without being called a hater.

But the fact that the uptight Anti-Humor Police are openly lying about Lady Ballers is also the point. It doesn't "punch down at trans people" (who are not a thing), but punches up at the cultural Marxists who demand we play along with the Emperor's New Gender Politics OR ELSE! As Rush Limbaugh said, it illustrates absurdity by being absurd, but it never really mounts a soapbox to scold the audience and in fact one character who genuinely seems to be having struggles with his sexuality is treated compassionately. It tells its silly story - one player is holding a team mascot hostage due to his PTSD from a college game - with sufficient laughs and a lack of mean-spiritedness some comedies trade in.

Like all art forms, comedy is subjective. I have never been more stone-faced that the times I attempted to glean what people appreciated about Modern Family or The Big Bang Theory and my near-total boycott of Adam Sandler for the past quarter-century is legendary, so if one doesn't laugh at Lady Ballers, they're not necessarily wrong; different strokes and all. But anyone who likes sports comedies and isn't emotionally crippled by liberal media diktats should gave have a good time with Lady Ballers.

Score: 7/10. Watch it however you choose to access it.


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