Four longtime friends and book club members--Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen--have their lives upended when they aim to spice up their mundane routines by reading the provocative bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. With newfound confidence, they each begin to come alive as exciting romances are ignited and old flames are rekindled. Through it all, the ladies inspire one other to make this next stage of their lives the best and steamiest thus far.
E.L. James: author of the 50 Shades trilogy and her husband can be seen walking their dog when Carol and Bruce are arguing in the front yard. See more »
The aircraft that is shown when Diane is flying back from Arizona is a CGI effect and not a real aircraft. This is evident by the engines being located two-thirds of the way out on the wing (instead of about 25%), and the windows being very tiny as if this aircraft had two levels, which is does not. See more »
During the end credits the black and white snapshot of the four ladies as young girls is seen again. Then the four leading ladies recreate the photo, the shutter clicks and a black and white still frame of the four ageing ladies is seen. See more »
Books, a medium for imagination, a collection of thoughts and ideas to motivate, and even more so, a springboard for Hollywood movies. Tonight's review is all about how books can certainly motivate one to do crazy things, perhaps set out on an adventure that can change your life. With a fantastic cast, this movie hopes to appeal to the modern-day audience to perhaps bring in the bucks for some laughs. Robbie K back with a written review to help you with your movie going purchases. Let's get started as we review:
Bill Holderman, Erin Simms
Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen Mary Steenburgen
Acting: These ladies are legends for a reason, and this movie shows off their acting talents despite the simpler roles they took on. Each one of leading ladies brings something to the table whether it be sass, sheik, sincerity, or sarcasm. Crafting believable characters, my friend and I certainly enjoyed getting to know these women who took center stage. The chemistry between them is great when together, and alone each of them carries the torch to light their way through the dark. Of the four, Candice Bergen is my favorite, as her delivery on everything was quite stellar and she had the funniest dialogue to me.
The Lessons: I'm a sucker for a good life lesson in a movie, and Book Club manages to do a great job bringing out some important life moments that warrant a little more thought. Each of the ladies goes through their own struggles, mostly involving some aspect of life starting to dull, or practically fizzle out, as they age. Book Club's cast hits the wall placed by the advancement of time, but then begins to show just how persistent sparks can be if one takes the chances. Seeing these moments certainly in inspiring and ignites some hope as they preach the words contained within this surprisingly touching script.
The Run Time: Movies like this can be very taxing when running too long, but Book Club manages to shrink the length of the novel down to a nice 100 minutes running time. With this concise time, comes a better pace and that leads to more entertaining maneuvers and jokes being brought in. Therefore, the boring pieces are fewer than anticipated and that means more amusement to keep me hooked into the film.
Realism: As romantic as chick-flicks are, they often go further into fantasy than most Medieval based films do. Book Club manages to turn down the movie magic and cheese factor to deliver a respectable tale. Don't get me wrong, there are some stretches of human qualities that aren't quite believable, but still better received than a Nicholas Sparks plot.
Used all 4 Characters: With a cast as important as this, and the price tags to go with them, I worried that they were going to skip over some of the women to favor the more popular characters. However, the team did a nice job of digging into each character's life and making sure to keep their journey relevant. The directing team kept jumping between stories, always making sure to come back at the right point to renew interests and help give the characters time to reset before jumping back into the fun at hand. It's a method I have enjoyed in the past and one I encourage to continue to be balanced as best as possible.
The Comedy: Most fans won't find this aspect as much of a like as I have, but this is because the comedy is geared towards a particular audience. Still, this reviewer found the writing and delivery in this movie top notch for maximizing the laughs at hand. As mentioned above, Book Club's comedy comes from of course the innuendos and double meanings the trailer made famous, but it also holds sarcasm, playful romance play, and other interactions that are reminiscence of friendship. While the comedy is a bit forced at times, the cast and directing succeeded in grounding the jokes to make it feel more natural and less planned.
Limited Audience: You knew this from the trailers, but Book Club's intended viewers are much narrower in scope than other movies. Targeted towards the female population, this story is going to speak more to them than anyone else, which will limit its ability to entertain all the masses. In addition, some of the jokes were lost on me because I don't have the anatomy needed to find it relevant, leading to some less stimulating jokes for me. As a reviewer, I have to take these things in, so sorry if I offend.
The Pacing: I said the pacing was decent and not too mind numbing, but Book Club does have those moments where the pace seems to crawl. Character building, yes, but in terms of keeping me hooked, these slower moments did not accomplish more than extending the run time.
Singled Out: While I like jumping around to each woman's story, the movie failed to integrate them together as much as I had expected from the trailers. Most of the time they are on their journey of self-discovery (proving one has to find the change themselves), only convening to get the next book in the chapter. Like the show friends, or a lot of other shows, I had hoped for the girls to kind of pair up a little more, perhaps integrating into each other's story and expanding the adventure. However, they chose to keep them well isolated up until the last third where things started to run together.
Overall, Book Club is cute, fun, and an adventure that I enjoyed more than expected. Perhaps due to the low expectation, or the clever writing and balance the movie is certainly one of the more enjoyable chick flicks I've seen in a while. Fans of these legendary ladies, or a girls group looking for fun should totally check out this film in theaters, and have one of the more enjoyable girls night outs in a while. As for the others who are not in the target audience... you are out of luck and best waiting for this on Redbox, if anything. Still, given all the lessons and humor, this movie deserves the following scores in my opinion:
Movie Overall: 6.5
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