Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Racquet (1979)



An ugly riff on Shampoo (1975) substituting professional tennis for hairdressing while stealing many of the earlier film’s plot elements, Racquet was one of a handful of star vehicles for Bert Convy, a quintessential ’70s personality who acted in dodgy movies and schlocky TV series before finding his niche hosting game shows. (To be fair, he was terrific as the leader of an est-type program in the 1977 football comedy Semi-Tough.) In the thoroughly rotten Racquet, Convy stars as Tommy Everett, an aging tennis pro who moonlights as a gigolo for the rich ladies of Beverly Hills. Dreaming of becoming a business owner, Tommy tries to talk his wealthiest patron, Leslie (Edie Adams), into bankrolling the purchase of a house with a massive court where Tommy can provide private lessons. Meanwhile, Tommy reunites with an old flame, Monica (Lynda Day George), and stupidly romances Leslie’s teenaged daughter, Melissa (Katherine Moffat)—shades of the Shampoo storyline involving Warren Beatty and Carrie Fisher. Racquet compares poorly to Shampoo, since Racquet emulates the earlier film’s raunchiness without any of the sophistication that made Shampoo relevant. Typical of Racquet is a grotesque scene of Leslie humping Tommy while screaming about his “bionic peeper,” or the equally distasteful scene of Leslie’s husband, Arthur (played by TV-comedy icon Phil Silvers), requesting that Leslie act out his Thanksgiving-themed sex fantasy. (“Will you make turkey sounds for me? Gobble-gobble when we climax?”) The love story between Monica and Tommy is riddled with vapid clichés, including an endless romantic montage set to a dreary ballad, and the subplot about Tommy’s sexy roommate, Bambi (Tanya Roberts), is as pointless as the braying Bobby Riggs cameo and the goofy discotheque scene. Giving credit where it’s due, Convy looks credible as a tennis player and he uses all of his meager powers in a failed attempt to put this godawful material across.

Racquet: LAME

2 comments:

Charles Tatum said...

Couldn't agree more! I reviewed this off a VHS tape years ago, and Convy can't get out from under the terrible material.

Unknown said...

Bert Convy in sexual situations?! Barf...