King Richard (*BP22)

I wanted to like King Richard; I really did. It tells the story of Venus and Serena Williams and the father who raised them to become two of the greatest athletes in the world. The star is one of my favorite actors (Will Smith) and I usually love a good inspirational biopic. The first hour or so of Richard Williams driving his kids around in a VW minibus and talking about his plan to make champions out of his two girls was entertaining. It was heartwarming to see how he put the all-around character of his kids at the forefront, and he was obviously a major influence in making them who they are. 

But at some point, the film needed to move away from him screaming about them opening up their stance and let the talents of the girls start to take over. And while Venus is finally allowed to make her own decision about signing with a sponsor toward the end, I was much more interested in how two sisters can have such phenomenal careers and compete against each other and still remain best friends. I didn’t need to see more of Will Smith in those very short shorts.

Venus and Serena are listed as Executive Producers on the film, so they obviously approved the script and wanted to honor their father. But I felt having all the focus be on the man behind the girls gave short shrift to the fact that they were the ones standing out in the blazing sun pounding the ball into the court. Will Smith is an iconic actor but I never entirely lost sight of him, even with the lisp and the shorts.

The Popcorn Kernels of Truth give this film Two Kernels. I absolutely loved Aunjanue Ellis as the mother, but felt there was way too much of Richard Williams.

Categories: FlicksIWatchedOnNetflix (I don’t have a category called FlicksIWatchedOnHBOMax, and also it doesn’t rhyme, but the film is NOT streaming on Netflix)