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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.14%
Worth A Look: 0%
Just Average: 3.57%
Pretty Crappy50%
Sucks: 39.29%

3 reviews, 10 user ratings

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Fifty Shades of Grey
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by Jaycie

"Come on, baby, make it hurt so blah."
2 stars

I've begun to notice a distinct disparity between positive and negative reviews of the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. Those who find it utterly loathsome cop to never reading the book, or at least never suffering through it to the end; those who find it mildly tolerable are generally aware of how much worse it could be. I am in the second group, having read the entire series from cover to cover (strictly for commentary purposes, I assure you). And as such, I can honestly say, without fear of contradiction, this movie is crap.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it could be worse. With the grace of the mighty eagle, director Sam Taylor-Johnson has swept over veritable mountains of stupid forged by the vengeful crap goddess herself, E.L. James. Not here will you find the voices in the heroine's head (seriously), nor a sex scene disgusting enough to ensure you'll never walk peacefully through the feminine products aisle again. Unfortunately, undoing the hell James hath wrought entirely would require not making this movie at all, and evidently Taylor-Johnson will be damned if commitment to quality prevents her from milking this cash cow.

So, let's get into this. Filling in for Kate, her flu-ridden roommate and college newspaper editor (Eloise Mumford), Anastasia "Ana" Steele (Dakota Johnson) conducts an interview with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), the 27-year-old CEO of a company that . . . well, it's never made clear what the company does, but it enables him to own what appear to be personal Audi and Brooks Brothers showrooms. Despite the fact that Ana is an awkward, mumbly, jittery mess of a girl and Christian has an unfortunate case of perma-stinkeye, the two become hopelessly attracted to each other at light speed. A few wacky (read: creepy) hijinks later, Christian is deflowering Ana into a contractual relationship that will ensure they live out that attraction on his whip-cracking, handcuffing, hog-tying terms. But can the power of paddling overcome the power of love?

Epic poetry and doctoral dissertations have been devoted to the Fifty Shades series' origins as Twilight fanfiction, its embarrassingly inept prose and the many nails it has driven into the coffin of feminism, so let's focus on the movie. While BDSM is fairly uncommon in mainstream cinema, the scenes in which it actually happens are scarcely edgier than any episode of Sex and the City you care to name. The actual sex is drowned out by irritating bistro music and angles frustrating enough to make this franchise's legions of bored housewives turn to real porn. Here and elsewhere, the shots, in terms of both composition and pacing, are disorganized and spark-free, and Taylor-Johnson's direction is far from subtle and often makes little sense. The movie meant to reawaken the long-dormant libidos of forty-something women everywhere should never be this dirge-like.

Sadly for all those housewives who have been riding their washing machines to thoughts of Jamie Dornan, the only wood on the screen is his performance. Dornan is so uncomfortable playing a domineering, paperwork-obsessed stalker that he can barely bring himself to emote, even during the scenes that are supposed to get his character harder than C3PO. As for Johnson, many a critic has savaged her for for delivering every word with the breathiness of Marilyn Monroe with chronic bronchitis; I, however, consider that evidence of her faithfulness to the character. She even convinces me that she really has grown the two vertebrae that screenwriter Kelly Marcel gives her in the third act - which, for the record, is one more vertebra than Ana gets in the book. And, hell, she even sounds like she's enjoying herself during sex. But these are bare minimums, and "bare" is the only thing Johnson does well enough to justify this film's existence. Were there any scenes of value to steal, they'd all belong to Mumford, the only cast member with a personality that isn't thoroughly abhorrent.

You know when I knew for sure this movie didn't work? It was the second the end credits began to roll, and the largely female audience collectively made a sound of bafflement, as if we were all saying "Was that it?" (I won't give away what came before that, although I will say it was a slight improvement over the ending of the book, in which our heroine sobs on her bed while clutching a deflated helicopter balloon.) If Shades had been doing its job properly, these women would have dragged their boyfriends out of the theater immediately, breathing ragged and pupils dilated in determination. I imagine they felt much like guys feel when the Flash plug-in crashes just as the girl takes her top off.

Compared to its source material, this movie is a masterpiece. Compared to literally any other movie, it is boring, intellectually insulting and ultimately worthless. It doesn't even have the courtesy to be a Manos-grade failure. Maybe E.L. James should have gotten her way after all.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=25905&reviewer=432
originally posted: 02/15/15 13:14:16
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 Berlin Film Festival For more in the 2015 Berlin Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell boring unsexy unless ur in to s&m 1 stars
11/23/15 Luisa For a movie about sex with two attractive leads, this movie is unsexy and bland. 3 stars
3/09/15 Louise Come back Lars Von Trier - all is forgiven! 1 stars
2/23/15 Elizabeth Would rather eat my own vomit than sit thru this crap 1 stars
2/23/15 stanley welles fifty shades of sleep 1 stars
2/18/15 Jack One word: Boring. 1 stars
2/14/15 Bob Dog An unprecedented sexual procedural that teases the viewers till the end... 5 stars
2/14/15 Limp Joe Nothing stiring in my loins from this movie 2 stars
2/13/15 potter fan this movie is FUCKING awesome 5 stars
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  13-Feb-2015 (R)
  DVD: 08-May-2015

  13-Feb-2015 (18)

  12-Feb-2015 (MA)
  DVD: 05-May-2015

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