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Lady Ballers is a new feature-length comedy exclusive to DailyWire+, starring/directed by/co-written by Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing (not a typo) and featuring cast members and drop-in guest stars culled from the Daily Wire’s stable of commentators. And Ted Cruz. As in, Senator Ted Cruz. Please feel free to deep-sigh here! This is a movie about men identifying as women so they can compete in a women’s basketball league, told from a conservative political culture-war – and decidedly transphobic – point of view. It should probably be called Triggering the Libs: The Movie, and I bet it has all kinds of COMPLETELY REASONABLE points to make. But before we jump to that conclusion, let’s find out what the movie has to say.
The Gist: It’s 2008. Rob (Boreing) is an exasperated high-school basketball coach. His team is sucking ass – “Playing like JV girls” is how he characterizes it. They hit the locker room at halftime and Rob delivers an inspirational speech to fire them up, and it consists of blither urging them to be “men,” and the repetition of the phrase “Winners are just losers who win!” And they are inspired! They come back and win the championship and that ends up being the high point of Rob’s career, because 15 years later, he can’t inspire a bunch of bored dudes at the rec center to stop looking at their phones long enough to toss a ball at a hoop. I mean, all they want to do is look at their phones. That’s all people do nowadays – look at their phones. Phones that go bleep and brringg and chirp-chirp. It’s so crazy!
Desperate, Rob gets a job waiting tables at a restaurant where all the male servers dress in drag. Turns out, one of his former players works there too, and Rob is inspired: Considering society is overrun with woke leftist maniacs who believe anyone can “identify” as anything, he reunites his championship squad (Daily Wire podcasters Blain Crain, Jake Crain and David Cone, as well as Tyler Fischer and Daniel Considine), dresses them in wigs and pink uniforms and enrolls them them in the women’s basketball league so they can stop being losers and become winners again. Ingenious!
And as this group of aging White guys wipe the floor with female basketball pros, the movie throws in all kinds of crap to make the snowflakes melt: Covid mask jokes, pronoun jokes, Bud Light jokes, antisemitic “comedy,” jokes about not understanding science, etc. Meanwhile, Rob’s sweet little daughter goes to a school that’s so woke, she says her classmate Mary Margaret has a penis, and she has to whiteboard an elaborate schematic in order to explain sexuality and gender to a bunch of dudes who just know the world consists of boys and girls and THAT’S IT. Also, Rob’s ex-wife is married to an overbearing lib-hippie who likes to hug everybody, although maybe not for long, because once Rob resumes being a “winner,” she seems attracted to him again. Also also, the villain of the movie is a journalist (Billie Ray Brandt) so morally void, she makes the nihilists in The Big Lebowski look like helpless little baby bunnies; “I’m a journalist. I literally can’t be shamed,” she says. So where is all this heading? Not outside the bubble, that’s for sure.
What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: Didn’t Juwanna Mann sorta cover some of this material before?
Performance Worth Watching: Drinking game: Every time Ben Shapiro or David Walsh appears on screen, guzzle a quart of cyanide.
Memorable Dialogue: Rob, after he’s tased by a very mean woman covered in pride pins: “I’m just glad we worked this out without having to get social media involved.”
Sex and Skin: Nothing notable.
Our Take: Lady Ballers takes a complicated topic – trans athletes competing in sports – and addresses it with remarkable nuance and earnest curiosity. It couches a series of well-reasoned points about thorny social conundrums within a poignant and probing satirical farce. It culminates in a tastefully modulated scene in which basketball players get their shorts pulled down in front of everybody, and a touching moment where Rob tells his daughter that boys can’t become girls and girls can’t become boys, and that’s the way the world works. It doesn’t engage in any moronic whataboutism or boast a script consisting almost entirely of snarky reply-guy X-Twitter conservative talking points. It’ll really make you think.
Kidding! It’s racist, sexist, transphobic and antisemitic, and there’s really no debating that. (It’s also so amateurish in its visual execution, a Happy Madison stoner comedy looks like a Merchant-Ivory production in comparison.) Anyone looking for a coherent and logical conservative point of view on transgender issues won’t find it here. The movie is an enraged, disdainful and mean-spirited free-for-all that flips all the same old worn-out lib-triggers in an attempt to put progressives in a foamy rage. Perhaps this is how Boreing and others on the far end of the political right feel when Disney casts a black woman to play the Little Mermaid; perhaps they struggle with the idea of societal change; perhaps they believe in nothing whatsoever and are just lashing out at the stuff they don’t understand, don’t want to understand and never will try to understand.
I will say Lady Ballers is funny on occasion, but only unintentionally – say, when it purports to be defending the purity of women’s sports, but stages a scene in which a women’s basketball game is played in an empty arena because “nobody likes it,” and depicts flabby aging men as infinitely superior athletes to women in their sporting prime, and ultimately considers female athletes as little more than things to be cruelly mocked. You have to admire such an elaborate self-own, which can’t be executed by just any idiot. Of course, anyone who wants to see the movie has to go out of their way to do it, and likely already subscribes to the Boreing and co.’s social and political assertions. That’s a way of saying the movie’s crossover appeal is severely limited to people who don’t like things way more than they like things.
Our Call: Lady Ballers isn’t offensive as much as it’s just depressing. SKIP IT, and if you want a documentary that explores the topic of trans athletes from a thoughtful, humanist approach, try Hulu’s Changing the Game.
John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.