"BATTLE OF THE SEXES" hits theaters on Friday, and while the film is a "reminder of the gender issues still plaguing us, it wholeheartedly embraces the equality of its two excellent leads," according to Brian Truitt of USA TODAY. EMMA STONE and STEVE CARELL "serve up great performances as tennis icons/rivals BILLIE JEAN KING and BOBBY RIGGS in the dynamite retro biopic." "Battle of the Sexes" is "less an issues movie and more an entertaining history lesson, with Stone and Carell proving they're a winning match" (USA TODAY, 9/22). DEADLINE's Pete Hammond wrote it "comes as no surprise that there is so much depth to the film." Anyone "alive at the time knows the outcome, but it doesn’t really matter as the buildup and match itself are presented so suspensefully that you will be on the edge of your seat anyway." Stone is "superb," while Carell is a "hoot." Although doubles are used in the tennis scenes, Stone and Carell "make it look effortless" (DEADLINE.com, 9/19). ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's Leah Greenblatt noted directors VALERIE FARIS and JONATHAN DAYTON paint the film's battles in the "bright primary colors of the film’s ’70s setting, soundtracking it all to groovy AM-radio gold and sanding down the ragged edges of Riggs’ noxious misogyny." The film has a "raft of splashy supporting turns, including ALAN CUMMING as the WTA’s droll wardrobe designer, ELISABETH SHUE as Riggs’ long-suffering wife," and SARAH SILVERMAN as King’s "chain-smoking go-go agent" (EW.com, 9/21).
REVIEWS ARE IN: In N.Y., Sara Stewart writes "Battle" is a "surprisingly genial biopic." In "wonky prosthetic teeth, Carell spins Riggs as a heedless publicity-chaser whose taunts were never meant to truly wound." But Stone is the "main event, riveting in those iconic wire-rims as a natural crusader for equality who’s also wrestling with personal conflicts" (N.Y. POST, 9/22). In L.A., Kenneth Turan writes with "gifted and innately likable actors" and an "audience-friendly script ... 'Battle' is most involving when it deals not with sports or society but the personal struggles both players, especially King, were going through in the run-up to the match" (L.A. TIMES, 9/22). In N.Y., Manohla Dargis writes the film is a "glib, enjoyable fictionalization." A revolution can be "tough to squeeze into two hours, but 'Battle of the Sexes' manages it mostly by skipping along its handsome surfaces" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/22). The GLOBE & MAIL's Brad Wheeler writes the film is "surprisingly timely: Today's fierce, revitalized misogyny makes the 1970s male chauvinism droll and quaint in comparison" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/22). In S.F., Mick LaSalle writes “Battle of the Sexes” is a "big-canvas story, a piece of Americana exploring American life and attitudes at a moment of cultural transformation." But in its "focus on King, it’s also a compelling internal story, demonstrating that athletic achievement is not only a matter of physical gifts." At the "highest levels, where the pressure is greatest, it really comes down to character" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/22).