Top critical review
Fifty Shades Worse
October 23, 2017
Ok. I admit it. I liked the first Grey movie. I liked it in the 'It wasn't a great movie, but it wasn't bad enough that I didn't enjoy it as a guilty pleasure' kind of way. I've even watched it several times - just like I've watched and re-watched other cute, spicy and visually indulgent romance movies like Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Moonstruck, Sleepless in Seattle and countless others despite their implausibility, silly dialogue, and fluffy content. It's what romance lovers do - we love romance stories and romance movies in spite of ourselves, and thus we forgive them for all they lack in substance and artistry. But we can only forgive so much. And Fifty Shades Darker? It asked too much of us. It was bad, and not in the kind of way Christian Grey would appreciate. It was bad in the unforgivable, doesn't-even-warrant-a-spanking-to-redeem-it kind of bad.
It was so bad in so many ways that I reached for my laptop to start writing this review 20 minutes in. To be fair, though, I set my computer aside and forced myself to wait and write the review after watching the whole movie. In the end, it didn't matter - the movie only got worse. The acting was awful, awful, awful. I loved Jamie Dornan in The Killing, and I found Dakota Johnson charming in the first Grey movie. But something BAD happened in this movie, and their performances were sad, and frequently, downright cringeworthy. Other aspects of the movie, not to mention other performances, were equally bad. There were times I felt I was watching a soap opera, and others when I felt I was watching a made for TV special (the helicopter scene? ouch.) I can only think that the change in directors was a major factor in the demise of this movie. This movie lacked the sex appeal and artistic flavor of its predecessor. Everything about this movie was subpar. The screenwriting was choppy and stilted - it wanted to adhere so much to the narrative of the book that everything felt crammed in and abbreviated, which also meant that the pacing of the movie was off and felt squished and unnatural and character development was completely absent. The sex scenes were stuck here, there and everywhere - but were boring (pool as foreplay? for this couple? spreader bard? yawn) repetitive (from behind again?), rushed and anti-climactic. The sets were artless and lacked finesse - the masquerade ball felt overly gaudy, tasteless and very cramped, as did the ring presentation scene - too many flowers, too little feeling of space and grandeur (and you could see the PVC pipe frame of the clear pool covering - crap staging.) This movie tried too hard and tried to cram in too much - and as a result it was clunky and forced, noisy and chaotic, stripped of elegance, class and subtelty. In short, this movie was a major disappointment, and unlike the other movies in my cache of silly, but delicious little romance movies that I return to whenever I need a 'romance fix', this movie is one I have no desire to watch again. Oh, and the 'aren't we oh-so-clever' re-work of the Working Girl scene? Lame. Working Girl makes into the cache....Fifty Shades Darker? Nope.