Monday 8 April 2024

Movie Review: The Main Event (1979)

Genre: Romantic Comedy  
Director: Howard Zieff  
Starring: Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, Patti D'Arbanville  
Running Time: 112 minutes  

Synopsis: Perfume executive Hillary Kramer (Barbra Streisand) is embezzled out of all her wealth, except her tax write-off ownership contract for boxer Eddie "Kid Natural" Scanlon (Ryan O'Neal). They immediately clash when Hillary finds Eddie cashing her cheques but retired from boxing and operating a dingy driving school. To make some money she has to convince him to get back in the ring, but Eddie is in no hurry to risk his health.

What Works Well: The production values are decent, and the few boxing scenes are glitzy.

What Does Not Work As Well: Streisand's character Hillary Kramer is a toxic combination of obtuse and insufferable, torpedoing any pretense of ability to succeed in business or love. She drowns in an ocean of attempted humour best resembling fingernails on a chalkboard, and sucks the movie into a charmless abyss. Her romance with O'Neal's boxer consists of falling into each other's arms after close to two hours of poorly-written bickering. Howard Zieff's artless directing prolongs every bad scene into an excruciating demonstration of incompetence, including sketching-in all the male characters at the Neanderthal level.

Conclusion: This bout is brain dead.

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