FILM REVIEW: Fifty Shades Darker – Fatally Boring

"Halfway through, I gave up looking for originality in the plot and started wondering what to get from McDonald’s for lunch."

Were you one of those people who saw Fifty Shades Darker last weekend? Come on, admit it. It pulled in $11 million at the box office so it had to be you. But what was the great attraction besides yachts, masked balls, and kinky sex?

There is more to Fifty Shades Darker than just bondage games, and that was probably the reason that it was a hit. It’s a romance novel made into a film, full of the lifestyles of the rich and emotionally-needy complete with the promise of a happy ending.

It does have a fatal flaw, though. It’s boring. Halfway through, I gave up looking for originality in the plot and started wondering what to get from McDonald’s for lunch.

Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is a billionaire playboy with a taste for domination, in bed and out. Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) was the girl that got away. Basically, this movie is him trying to get her back. She’s trying to set up her own life but still longs for his touch. He’s the catnip to her… uh, let’s not go there.

Being a billionaire, he has chauffeurs, helicopters, exquisitely-furnished apartments worldwide and the ability to buy anything he wants.

That’s the problem faced by the plot. The obstacles that come between Grey and Steele are not very challenging when your hero can just throw money and the problem goes away. For example, when Steele is threatened by her predatory boss, Grey buys the publishing firm and fires the boss.

So what does Steele really want before giving in to her inclinations? What every woman wants – to be courted, listened to, and assured she won’t get hurt again.

By the end, he’s on his knees, promising her he’ll change, while offering her a complete florist shop’s worth of flowers, bursting fireworks and a red room full of whips, chains and handcuffs.

I suspect that the lack of full frontal male nudity was the only reason it missed a NC-17 rating. It certainly didn’t lack full frontal female nudity.

So, rent Fifty Shades Darker for a pre-wedding party or maybe girls’ night out. Get lots of wine, an ever-flowing triple-decker chocolate fountain, and ripe strawberries. Maybe a double-feature with the first movie. Or a triple-feature after the next installment that comes out in 2018.

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