Ladybugs (film)

Ladybugs is a 1992 American sports-comedy film starring Rodney Dangerfield and directed by Sidney J. Furie. Dangerfield plays a Denver businessman who takes over a girls soccer team that the company he works for sponsors. The film also stars Jackée Harry as his assistant coach, Ilene Graff as his girlfriend, Jonathan Brandis as his girlfriend's son, and Vinessa Shaw as his boss' daughter.

Theatrical Release Poster
Directed bySidney J. Furie
Produced by
Written byCurtis Burch
Music byRichard Gibbs
CinematographyDan Burstall
Edited by
  • Timothy Board
  • John W. Wheeler
Ladybugs Productions
Morgan Creek International
Distributed byParamount Pictures (United States & Canada)
Warner Bros. (International)
Release date
  • March 27, 1992 (1992-03-27)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[1]
Box office$14.8 million (US)

Then Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda has a cameo, as do Blake Clark and longtime Dangerfield friend Chuck McCann.


Chester Lee (Rodney Dangerfield) is desperate for a promotion at work and some respect from his boss. To impress his boss, he claims to have been a good soccer player in his youth and is badgered into coaching a girls' team called the Ladybugs. Dragging his assistant Julie (Jackée Harry) along as assistant coach, Chester figures the gig easy as the Ladybugs, sponsored by his company, are a dynasty, having dominated previous seasons. If he can get this team to a championship, he will get the promotion. Unfortunately, only one player has returned for the new season. The new team, which includes the boss' daughter, Kimberly (Vinessa Shaw), are clueless, make a dreadful start to the season and the boss is less than impressed.

In his personal life, Chester is engaged to Bess (Ilene Graff), who has a son, Matthew (Jonathan Brandis), from a previous marriage. Matthew just happens to be a great athlete, but poor grades get him kicked off the soccer team. Chester invites Matthew to watch the Ladybugs practice and to get some tips. Matthew has a crush on Kimberly from school and it is partly due to this that Chester persuades him to dress like a girl and play for the team under the name Martha. With only Chester, Matthew and Julie knowing the secret of Martha's identity, the team wins the rest of its games to get to the championship game. Kimberly makes friends with Martha, not knowing "she" is in fact Matthew.

Just before the championship game, Bess finds out that Matthew has been dressing as a girl to play. She becomes angry with Chester, making him drop Matthew from the team. Kimberly, who has not been playing well, is also dropped on the request of Chester's boss.

The Ladybugs go down 3-0 in the first half. At halftime, Matthew reveals to Kimberly and the rest of the team that he is Martha. His honesty fires the team up and with Chester's encouragement, Kimberly scores the winning goal on a penalty kick. As the Ladybugs win the championship, Chester gets his promotion. Bess and Chester get married while Matthew and Kimberly begin dating. Chester is now managing the company's girls softball team, where the entire team are boys dressed as girls. Chester says to the audience "I finally got some respect."



Shooting took place from July through September 1991 in and around Denver, Colorado.[2]


Paramount struggled with how to market the film and considered changing the title, as it clashed with Dangerfield's image as a profane comic.[1] The film grossed almost US$15 million in the US and Canada, while Warner Bros. and Morgan Creek International obtained the foreign distribution rights.[3]


Ladybugs was panned by critics.[1] It has a 13% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 3.6/10 average based on 14 reviews.[4]

Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film flip-flops on its themes and "has the stale, slick, worked-over look of standard studio product".[5]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote: "Even when the material is feeble, as it is here, Mr. Dangerfield can sometimes be funny."[6]


  1. Kremer, Daniel (2015). Sidney J. Furie: Life and Films. University Press of Kentucky. p. 297. ISBN 9780813165974.
  2. "Look Like Dangerfield? Well, Here's a Job For You". Rocky Mountain News. 13 June 1991. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  3. "Ladybugs". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  4. "Ladybugs (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  5. Wilmington, Michael (1992-03-28). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Ladybugs': Dangerfield's Comic Tricks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  6. Canby, Vincent (1992-03-28). "Review/Film; Coach Rodney Dangerfield And the Girls' Soccer Team". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
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