Emma Stone and Steve Carell
[Photo: 20th Century Fox]

‘Battle Of The Sexes’


Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris


Stars: Emma Stone, Steve Carell


Rating: PG-13


2.5 (Out of 5) Globes


Plot: Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) is the world’s number 1 tennis player, but she’s also on a crusade for women’s equality after learning that male players receive 8 times the amount of winning money. At the same time, 55-year-old Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) is struggling in his retirement, and his gambling problems are causing strife in his marriage. But Riggs recognizes an opportunity to hustle his way back into the limelight, so challenges Billie Jean King to a match. It is an offer that King simply can’t refuse. 

“Battle Of The Sexes” isn’t a bad film. In fact, it's perfectly pleasant, but that's part of the problem. Emma Stone and Steve Carell put in fine performances that, while not up with the best of their careers, manage to strike a chord. The film is littered with moments that will make you smile. And its message of gender equality is one that always needs to be heard. But here's the catch: the way it unfold is just so hum-drum. Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris evoke the 70s well, and the film flows with information about the match and those involved, but you're never fully invested. There’s almost too much going on, as we get to see Billie Jean King battling with her sexuality, fighting the misogynists overseeing tennis, struggling in her marriage, having to contend with Bobby Riggs, as well as flailing on the court, too. Then we see Bobby Riggs being overwhelmed by his gambling addiction, which impacts his marriage, before he then sets out on his pursuit to convince Margaret Court and Billy Jean King to play in the titular matches. But even though the movie's enjoyable enough, you’re never pulled into the world. The story itself doesn’t offer up that many twists and turns, while even the music choices feel predictable. Ultimately, “Battle Of The Sexes” just feels more important than impressive.