Picks and Pans Review: The Main Event

updated 07/30/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/30/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

In a weight class lighter than Rocky II, this movie has comedy potential. A woman perfume mogul is embezzled into bankruptcy and left with only the contract of a boxer who won't fight. There are good moments, such as the ring scene in which the exec, Barbra Streisand, dumps ice into the trunks of her reluctant stallion, Ryan O'Neal. Or when she seduces him while both are wearing long Johns. But most of the time the film is out of the control of director Howard (House Calls) Zieff. Though O'Neal handles himself nicely in the ring, he has no sense of comedic timing outside it; his gestures are too late and too wild, his smiles look dumb when they should be knowing and vice versa. Streisand runs slightly amok, alternating between her frenetic, coarse, speed-talking mode and her vulnerable-after-all dreamy smile. Back when they were all less pretentious, O'Neal and Streisand made a delightful pair in Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up, Doc? But Main Event, which could have been a contender, isn't. (PG)

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