Book Club

Overwritten senior sex “comedy”

Four aging college girlfriends (Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen) who speak like they’re being fed lines by a pseudo-clever screenwriter are prodded into comic (term used loosely) self-reflection when their weekly book club takes up the 50 Shades of Grey books. 

The problem is not that this strained premise sets up a predictable, sappy rom-com (jeez, even the title has been used several dozen times before), it’s that it sets up four of them. Andy Garcia, Craig T. Nelson and Don Johnson get roped into the obligatory older-but-still-hunky guy roles. Must’ve needed a new boat or something.

And I’m puzzled as to why Bill Holderman, who has produced such insightful pieces as A Walk in the Woods and The Old Man & the  Gun would stoop to this kind of thing for his feature directorial debut. 

I’m not unaware of or unsympathetic to the complaint that it’s difficult in today’s Hollywood for women of a certain age to land good roles. My point is the fact that four women of this caliber have opted into taking part in this kind of condescending drivel underscores that complaint. 

While I found some enjoyment in watching the ease with which these four pros interact, this movie was clearly not made for me. There’s a demographic that will eat this up. Just be sure you’re a part of it before going in. (104 min)

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