Saturday, September 23, 2017
Battle of the Sexes Review - 3 Stars
"Battle of the Sexes" celebrates the 1973 "stunt" tennis match between 55-year-old, over-the-hill tennis star Bobby Riggs and 29-year-old top tennis star Billie Jean King. It's often a "stunt," when contemporary actors play well known figures, setting up a "stunt" movie about a tennis "stunt." To my amazement, it works. "Battle of the Sexes" reveals Billie Jean King's effort to make women's tennis equal to the men's tour. It captures the misogyny of the times, especially as Billie Jean encounters the head of the pro tennis circuit, who scoffs at her founding of the competing Virginia Slims tennis tour. "Battle" also touches on Billy Jean's struggle with her sexuality, as she falls for an attractive hairdresser, in a time when a same sex relationship could end a career. The finale wisely uses much of ABC sports commentator Howard Cosell's play-by-play, which sounds so demeaning today, you could hardly believe it unless you hear the original. I didn't think much of the actual event in 1973. This recreation makes it great fun. "Battle of the Sexes," rated PG, 3 stars. Does it deliver what it promises? Fun recreation of a funny event. Is it entertaining? Surprisingly so. Is it worth the price of admission? Just for the fun of it.