Lipstick & Dynamite

Rated NR 2005

In this era of ass-kicking "girl power," it seems like the right time to look back at some of the original tough chicks of pop culture -- '50s-era female pro wrestlers, who were tough and took no guff. Now in their senior years, many are still as tenacious and foul-mouthed as ever; WWE fans are familiar with the Fabulous Moolah and the Great Mae Young, who still show up on TV to take the occasional fall or two. The problem with making a documentary about these women is that you need someone equally tough to ask them difficult questions, and director Ruth Leitman, who admits she knew nothing about wrestling before making the film, isn't up to it. Tantalizing hints are dropped about real-life grudges and lesbianism, but rather than follow up on them, Leitman's content to use campy stock footage and novelty songs to make the whole thing play like kitsch, which ultimately feels like an insult to the warrior women involved, even if it wasn't intended as such.

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