Thursday, February 16, 2017

Movie Review #569: "Fifty Shades Darker" (2017)

Director: James Foley
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes
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Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) give their relationship another try, but demons from Grey's past continue to come between them.

How fitting that the review for this movie is #569.

"Fifty Shades Darker" is the sequel to the 2015 stinker "Fifty Shades of Grey." James Foley takes over as director for this installment as previous director Sam-Taylor Johnson ran into a few creative differences with the books author E.L. James. Niall Leonard takes over as writer for the series after Kelly Marcel also left the project for the same creative differences as Taylor-Johnson. Oh, and did we mention Niall Leonard is "Fifty Shades" novel writer E.L. James's husband? That tells you everything you need to know about this second film without saying very much at all.

Returning to the series are Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, who left the end of the first movie on a cliffhanger ending as Ana fled Christian's penthouse via dramatically shut elevator doors and the simple utterance of his name. The pair reunites when Anastasia attends a photography art show for friend-zone, oops, we mean Jose, played by Victor Rasuk. At this show, friend-zone, we mean Jose, has an uncomfortable amount of photographs of Anastasia on display, which are all bought by one wealthy collector. As anyone with half a brain can guess, it is Christian who buys all of the portraits of Ana because, and we quote, he "doesn't like stranger staring at her." This is super-dee-duper romantic, right? Because this sign of affection is done by an attractive billionaire and not some ugly, poor guy living in a studio apartment, it is to be taken as passionate and *~oh so romantic~* instead of stage five clinger status.

"Fifty Shades Darker" manages to accomplish the extremely difficult task of making what is supposed to be a steamy, erotic thriller completely and incredibly boring. The narrative is terrible and totally lacks cohesion. The time frame of events isn't exactly clear. There is still absolutely no chemistry between Dornan and Johnson. Tree stumps just existing in a forest have better chemistry than they do. This makes their sex scenes as bland as Dornan's acting. It's not that Dornan is a terrible actor in general, and we know this because we have seen him give good performances elsewhere, it's just that we've heard wet farts with better acting. We honestly think Dornan simply doesn't give a crap about this poorly written harlequin trash, so he phones in his performance for the exorbitant payday. Johnson isn't much better, and though she does manage to get a slight bit of emotion out on occasion, there are times when she struggles to illicit even the most basic responses. In one scene where she is meant to have this big emotional outburst after a horrifying tragedy, she can't even manage to muster up one flippin' tear. This time around, they bring in other characters like Kim Basinger's Elena Lincoln, or "Mrs. Robinson" as she's referred to in the original film, as well as a former submissive of Christian's named Leila, played by Bella Heathcote, who is still obsessed with Grey. Ana also lands a boss who openly sexually harasses her and comes within inches of a sexual assault and no one thinks to involve the police because reality. These characters and their places in the story seemed glossed over in favor of the bland "will they or won't they get married?" part of the plot. All of these instances feel shoehorned in for dramatic effect, but are underutilized and underdeveloped.

"Fifty Shades Darker" is purely a mommy porn fantasy about a super attractive bad boy billionaire who wants the mousy middle class publishing assistant, and wants her so much he is willing to change into a decent person and abandon his sadistic ways. This sounds like an abusive relationship waiting to happen. The two characters continue to carry on what is clearly a dysfunctional relationship under the guise of something normal, when really, it's controlling and manipulative, but hey, he's super hot and super rich, so whatevs!! This movie winds up being messier and more headache-inducing than the first film, and worst yet, substantially more dull and a complete waste of time.

PS: Be sure to check out our *very* NSFW discussion with the lovely Katie and Lance from Yes! Listen to This Podcast as we discuss all things "Fifty Shades of Grey."


My Rating: 2.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 2.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~9%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

**To review this movie for yourself on one of the best websites on the internet, visit filmfed.com!*

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