The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.
Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Elisabeth Shue |
by Gilbert Seah
BATTLE OF THE SEXES begins with Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) just winning the women’s singles tennis championship making her number one female player in the world.
King is outraged with the inequality of pay by the National Tennis League, especially with Jack, the chairman (Bill Pullman), who is shown to be the real villain of the story. Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), arranges the battle of the sexes match, using his loud mouth and publicity to earn himself some cash to aid his failing marriage. To King, winning this match is more symbolic.
It is a milestone for women’s rights for equal pay, a point that is mentioned at the film’s end credits but not made clear throughout the film. The lazy script by Simon Beaufoy (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) never bothers with important details of the story.
The film overdramatizes to the point of laughter. One scene has Billie’s lover in her hair salon shop hearing the news of Billie, realizing that she is needed and dramatically drops everything to leave the salon. The wardrobe of the 70’s has never looked so awful in any other film.The script contains lots of inane dialogue and unfunny jokes.
One line has Larry asking his wife if she was getting a blow dry, with full sexual innuendo. The film sheds no real light on the female rights movement, except what we already know.