“Fifty Shades of Familiar” – Book Club (DVD Review)

Rating:

This year saw audiences bid farewell to Christian Grey and his less than admirable portrayal on film, so the last thing we really needed was a film which technically shows ode to such a bad taste. Luckily it’s not directly Fifty Shades guff but if you’re willing to stay with the odd choice of flavour these four characters divulge into then you’ll be stepping into familiar territory but one which is about as enjoyable as you make it.

Four lifelong friends — Diane (Diane Keaton), Vivian (Jane Fonda), Sharon (Candice Bergen) and Carol (Mary Steenbergen) — have their lives changed once their regular Book Club meet-up chooses none other than audience favourite Fifty Shades of Grey. Once indulging into the obscurities of modern day romance, the women change their ways of working their own romantic lives.

(L-R) Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen in the film, BOOK CLUB, by Paramount Pictures

These four renowned actresses have absolutely nothing to earn here. They signed up to Book Club the same way audiences will sign up to this film; to have fun. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s certainly Nancy Meyers-inspired, even with a Keaton in tow with her usual turtle neck attire, though writers Bill Holderman and Erin Simms balance a saccharine narrative with genuine moments of heart and heartache at that.

To each their own with the style of the characters, very much like Sex and the City. We have the focused widow whose daughters are overbearing though wishes to find love, a singleton whose career-driven life is stunned with the modern day approach to romance, the single-but-desperate-for-attention rich businesswoman and the married but adored wife who requires to add spice to the bedroom. Bring in Christian Grey and any red room tropes to make your head spin.

Book Club pays enough time to each character and their arc though the stand out moments lay with Keaton’s genuine charisma with dashing Andy Garcia and Bergen’s adventures on a Tinder-like swipe dating site and the heartache to ensue from realising this is no longer a known world.

This is either your thing or it’s not. Book Club doesn’t seek to break barriers but merely to touch on the idea of love and sex for the older generation, and actually showing the Fifty Shades material in genuine light for a change. The cast are a credit to themselves as much as their audiences as truly we’ve come here to watch four very familiar faces portray boldness and vulnerability in a new age of dating, love and sex.

 

Dir: Bill Holderman

Scr: Bill Holderman, Erin Simms

Cast: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenbergen, Candice Bergen, Andy Garcia, Craig T Nelson

Prd: Andrew Duncan, Bill Holderman, Alex Saks, Erin Simms

Music: Peter Nashal

DOP: Andrew Dunn

Runtime: 104 Minutes

Book Club is available on Blu-Ray and DVD from 8th Oct