Thursday, February 4, 2016

Movie Review #374: "Fifty Shades of Black" (2016)

Movie"Fifty Shades of Black"
Ticket Price: $7.25
Director: Michael Tiddes
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes
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A wealthy self made businessman named Christian Black (Marlon Wayans) begins an unhealthy relationship with a young naive college girl named Hannah Steale (Kali Hawk).

In the tradition of other Wayans family films like "Scary Movie," which parodied horror flicks, and "Don't be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in tha Hood," which poked fun at the 'life in the hood' genre, "Fifty Shades of Black" mocks last year's successful abuse-condoning "Fifty Shades of Grey." Marlon Wayans stars as Christian Black, and Kali Hawk plays Hannah Steale. As a parody, in order to really get the majority of the jokes here, you should see/should have already seen "Fifty Shades of Grey" before going into it. We're sorry!! It is in these jokes where this film garners most of its laughs, especially since we loathed the source material. Unfortunately, it also goes for the easy genitalia-related humor, too, with a much lesser success rate. Making fun of a movie or a book like the "Fifty Shades" series is honestly like shooting fish in a barrel because the dialogue and situations are so downright awful that, in many ways, the original "romance" is already unintentionally funny. "Fifty Shades of Black" could have been a shot-for-shot, self-aware remake and it would have gotten many laughs on this premise alone.

Christian Grey from "Fifty Shades of Grey" is a legit stalker, there are no bones about it. The main jokes in "Fifty Shades of Black" come from pointing out just how much of a stalker and control freak Grey was in the original, just presented in an overt, silly manner. In the original, there's a scene where Christian gives Ana a brand new laptop (because, you know, most people in college would never think to own such a device to aid them through their education) and immediately proceeds to bombard her with emails and even tells her what to Google at some point. Here, Christian Black buys Hannah a laptop, but this time, he also has a few added cameras installed in her house to keep an eye on her...and when we say a few, we mean literally dozens. It's dopey jokes like this, the playing on the already absurd, idiotic source material, that makes this movie the at least a bit bearable. We're somewhat ashamed to say we laughed a lot more during this film than we thought we would. It takes the parody of "Grey" to the nth degree, and with most of the Wayans films as of late, doesn't ever stop shoving the stupidity of it all in your face. Unfortunately, for as many laughs as there are, there are an equal if not greater number of groans and eye rolls. There is a lot of the typical raunchy comedy go-to shticks in the form of vulgar sex acts displayed on screen, tongue-licking open mouthed kissing, and lots, we mean lots of racist stereotypes and vernacular. Much of these attempts at laughs miss their intended mark by miles. In addition, there are tons of really terrible characters here (and don't hate us for saying this because it's not like we went into a movie like "Fifty Shades of Black" searching for deep characters). One of the most annoying parts of the movie, which filmmakers clearly thought would be a riot, is Hannah's roommate Kateesha, played by Jenny Zigrino. Kateesha seems like a Rebel Wilson knock-off type of character, but horribly unfunny in every way imaginable. Jane Seymour plays Christian's mom Claire, who is a wealthy white woman and is obliviously racist. She has adopted ethnically diverse children as a conversation starter at parties and in a clear attempt to prove she's not racist. As previously mentioned, racial stereotypes are played up a lot for gags but mostly fall flat, though some of the more topical jokes about Donald Trump may garner a chuckle or two. Being a modern sex comedy, what would this movie be without a couple of jokes about small and large male genitalia? These jokes don't rely on the "haha, look, it's a penis and it's supposed to be funny!" reaction, but rather the "haha, look, it's an outrageously large penis/haha, look, he has a ridiculously small penis." Believe us, folks, there's a distinction, and when you've seen "Dirty Grandpa," you'll know what we mean.

"Fifty Shades of Black" is not a great movie. Hell, it's not even a good movie, but this is far from the worst film we've seen in the parody genre. In the end, there isn't quite enough good to outweigh the bad, and though we wouldn't re-watch this movie ever again, we applaud Marlon Wayans' efforts to (seemingly) single-handedly keeping the spoof/parody genre alive (albeit on life support).

My Rating: 3.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 3.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 8%
Do we recommend this movie: No.
One year ago, we were watching: "Project Almanac"

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