Sarina Bellissimo reviews Daddy's Home 2 and The Battle of the Sexes
Daddy’s Home 2
Mark Wahlberg and Will Farrell are back as Dusty and Brad in “Daddy’s Home 2”. This time around there is harmony between the two as they co-parent Dusty’s kids. All of that is set to come undone however, when Dusty and Brad’s dads (Mel Gibson and John Lithgow) come to town for Christmas.
You are either going to think this film is funny or you’re going to walk away shaking your head.
There’s lots of slapstick in there for the cheap but guaranteed laughs. There’s a thermostat (immersion) joke that we can all relate too, the casting of the dads was genius and there’s great chemistry between Wahlberg, Ferrell, Lithgow and Gibson.
That said, even though I laughed in some places, there were many jokes that I just didn’t think were funny and they left me feeling very uncomfortable.
Even though it is trying to set itself up as a Christmas classic, this is far from it. But it doesn’t really matter what I think as there is a massive audience for this out there - It opened up at number 1 at the US Box Office and a few weeks after opening it is still sitting in the top 5 films. So if this sounds like your thing, go and see it, if not, check out “Thor” which is still in cinemas now. “Thor” has it all - laughs, adventure, action and did I mention lots of laughs?!
The Battle of the Sexes
From the Directors of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Ruby Sparks” comes the real life story of one of the most watched tennis matches in history, 1973’s , “Battle of the Sexes”.
The “Battle of the Sexes” was watched by over 90 million people world wide. It pitted the women’s world number one tennis player, Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) against former men’s tennis champion, and hustler, Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).
The match and the lead up to the match is fascinating to watch. Although this happened forty four years ago, it is scary to see that while some things change, some things have remained the same in this world we live in.
Billie Jean King is an amazing woman, and this film takes your admiration for her to a different level. You will walk away in awe of her! In awe of the fact that she was brave and confident enough to back herself and know her worth. In taking a stand for not accepting less than what her fellow male counterparts were earning, and being willing to fight for her beliefs, she not only changed her life, but she had a massive impact on women’s tennis. And in turn, a knock on effect followed for women in sport and women in the work place.
This film not only portrays the wins but it is honest about the inner turmoil Billie Jean was feeling both on and off the court – from not being valued because she was a woman to also dealing with her own sexuality.
The scenes between Billie Jean and her girlfriend Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough) are beautifully filmed. Both the love and heart ache felt jumps off the screen.
This is not only to do with the gorgeous camera work, but also with Emma Stone’s brilliant portrayal of Billie Jean. She is Billie Jean! Emma is such a chameleon, able to play a plethora of characters and the audience, never questions what they are seeing on screen as she always embodies the character, as she has done here with Billie Jean King.Without a doubt, we are looking at this generation’s Meryl Streep.
Another stand out performance comes from Steve Carell. He has hit the nail on the head with his portrayal of the flamboyant, hustler who is Bobby Riggs.
My only issue with this film is I wish it was named differently. While, the title makes a bold statement – and somewhat delivers on this statement – the title is what sometimes holds this film back.
This film should have been called “The Billie Jean King Story” (or something along those lines) as this really is a film about her – as it should be. The problem is when you call it “The Battle of the Sexes”, this is what you expect to see. While the film does deliver on that, the issue is, that when it turns to Billie Jean’s personal life it slows the film down. When the focus is back on the actual “battle” the momentum builds and makes for an exciting and sometimes funny film.
The other issue is that when the Battle is over, so is the film. I wanted to know so much more about Billie Jean King. I wanted to find out how this amazing, inspiring, courageous woman went on to become the legendary tennis player she is and how she continues to make history. The closing credits where this is summarised just wasn’t enough. Hopefully others feel the same, and we will get another film taking us on Billie Jean’s next chapters.
In the meantime, let’s appreciate what we have and enjoy “The Battle of the Sexes”.