Book Club Review

Even though the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy has come and pass, we still can’t escape it. The book has managed to creep up on us when we least expected. Bill Holderman’s directorial debut managed to remind us of the erotic guilty pleasure in the latest rom-com Book Club. Written by Holderman along with Erin Simms gives us a movie you have seen many times before with a great and well-known cast telling the story that even in the world of filmmaking and acting, age is only a number.

Diane Keaton (Something’s Gotta Give), along with wonderful actresses Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie), Candice Bergen (TV’s Murphy Brown, Miss Congeniality), and Mary Steenburgen (TV’s Last Man on Earth) are four best friends who meet for a monthly book club and have their lives changed once the book of the month is “50 Shades of Grey”.

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I would assume that this movie takes place in present day but I find it very surprising that these women have not read let along heard much about this film until it was presented as the latest book in their club. Nonetheless, this book apparently awakens a fire in their ass to start living it up in their personal lives in and out of the bedroom. I know you are thinking, “Why would I want to watch some older women getting it on the big screen?” Or maybe you do, I ain’t mad. The movie is much more than that and I liked the pairing of these women in the same movie together. If you are a fan of any of these four leads, this movie should be something you are curious about. Unfortunately, while the trials and tribulations of a marriage, single life, commitment issues, or reaching a certain age are real and relatable issues doesn’t excuse the over use rom-com troupes that are present in this movie. There is even a chase to the airport.

So safe to say that the writing in this film leaves these women thirsty to really let their hair down and push the boundaries with the plot and their interactions together at book club. Even though I have never been to a book club with just women, I have a good feeling that what is said at book club stays in book club and this movie really didn’t give you that feeling. It is very tamed. I know these women are witty and can really deliver a good punchline with good material. That is the biggest complaint with this movie. This was a watered down version of what could have been some great dialogue between close friends. What wasn’t watered down was those glasses of wine in the film. There was almost someone drinking wine in every scene of the film. I am not sure if that was in the script or not but these women sure do know how to throw down.

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The men in their lives, also all well-known actors including Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson, and Richard Dreyfuss to name a few did a good job in playing the roles they were given. So if you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s you will find most of the players in the film recognizable and maybe that will be good enough to check it out. Andy Garcia I think was given the best part and it really seemed like he phone in his lines. He just seemed a bit lifeless when on-screen. A missed opportunity in my opinion.

What this movie did do right is make sure to let audiences know that no matter what age you are, you can have fun and there is a story to tell just like all those other teen and young adult rom-coms you see all the time. Life does not end at a certain age, especially romance. Movies like Now and Then, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Bridesmaids etc. This is a movie for the older movie to watch. I may not have liked most of the execution with this film but this movie played out just like a teen rom-com but for the mature adult. Bergen’s character Sharon, a federal judge who hasn’t moved on since her recent divorce decides to take a chance with online dating. Many people think past a certain age, online dating is not for you and I don’t think that is true. It was nice to see that story line played out.

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So is this movie good enough for your monthly movie club you watch and talk about afterwards? It pains me to say that this movie is a miss for me. I being a big fan of First Wives Club and Steel Magnolias I was disappointed with the movie I got from Book Club. So this is what you need to know if you see this movie: Watching this movie, you will chuckle once or twice and one of the few landed lines the women deliver, these women do look like they are having a lot of fun with this film and that energy may transcend to you as well for a movie that could make you smile. The demographic is limited. The films target audience are women and I don’t see much in this film that men will enjoy. This comedy is movie pass worthy so break out those red cards if you have any curiosity for the film. Again, age is only a number and no matter what there is always room for a little romance and excitement.

2 ½ out of 5


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