LadybugThe underdog story is a catharsis for everyone who feels that they are, in some sense, an underdog. Which is to say: everyone.

Nobody is going to argue that a sport in which stamina and lower-body strength figure greatly has to be a boy’s game, and women have been playing soccer since it was invented. This strange fantasy world in which girls are scorned for wanting to play soccer is a generic straw man designed to make viewers indignant enough to pay to see the movie.

That the protagonist’s soccer-hero brother dies, leaving his poor team hero-less, seals the deal on the vanilla. She’s not fighting for the right to play as a girl. She’s fighting for the right to play as a boy. In other words, the stakes here are really pretty low.

That’s also true of the movie’s release. The story has just enough generic angst to it, and was made for little enough money, that it can’t really flop unless there’s something about it that’s truly horrible. On the other hand, it takes no risks, so it will reap no great rewards. Few people are going to be motivated to go to the theater to see something that they’re pretty sure they already saw sometime in the past year, on TV, at 3am.

Gracie trailer