Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Two Movies I Have Seen This Week: BATTLE OF THE SEXES and BRAD'S STATUS






Neither of these films was a complete bust, but both of them were disappointments in a way. BATTLE OF THE SEXES was a Hollywood biopic and thus, despite very fine performances from Emma Stone and Steve Carrell, made the film duller than it had to be. The female tennis players, struggling to achieve equality in pay and respect with the men were presented as a mass of quasi-cheerleaders. Very few were even named. And how many Sarah Silverman performances must we endure before it is clear she always plays the same part. Both King and Riggs were poignant figures: he having become a clown to support his gambling addiction, and she for discovering her sexuality at the same time she was battling for women's rights. But neither is given the attention it deserves. Instead we spend too much time on meaningless scenes.The characters that evoke the most sympathy are their spouses. B-
BRAD'S STATUS presents a father who has no idea his son is a great student and has a good crack at a Harvard education despite having devoted his life to non-profits. You expect him to be a better man than he is. Are we supposed to feel sorry that his friends have greater success? Are we supposed to dislike him? But how can we when his son, a great kid, feels so sorry for him. Ben Stiller just never seems to play anyone but himself. His conversation with an older friend of his son's, a musician, is painful. "How can you be fifty and not know the world doesn't revolve around you?" she asks. Exactly. And yet you feel the movie feels sorry for him too. Again the character evoking the most sympathy is his wife. C+

7 comments:

George said...

We plan to see BATTLE OF THE SEXES when it gets to the cheap show. No interest in BRAD'S STATUS mostly because of Stiller. He's been in a string of mediocre movies. I like your grading system!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I would never pay to see anything starring Ben Stiller, and indeed, I would find it hard to watch any movie he starred in even for free and even if it got raves. I dislike him intensely, and you nailed the reason why. The only thing of his I've sat through in the last 15 years was the first NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM.

Charles Gramlich said...

I might be interested in battle of the sexes.

Al Tucher said...

Now I have to defend Brad's Status. I enjoyed it, because to me Ben Stiller is the master of the deliciously cringeworthy moment, of which there were many.

Yvette said...

I always get Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler mixed up in my mind. Except that I like Adam Sandler much better and felt that SPANGLISH was a VERY underrated movie. Anyway, you're right that Ben Stiller always plays the same character but he seems to be making a very nice career out of it. I wouldn't go out of my way to see a movie of his though. Thanks for letting me know about BATTLE OF THE SEXES, I was dubious, but now I'm not going to bother. (I lived through the reality of it and once is probably enough.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Very much like the TV movies we used to watch in seventies. But with more expensive actors.

kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...
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