Wednesday, February 15, 2017

[Review] Fifty Shades Darker

Fifty Shades Darker doesn't need much of an introduction, following the massively polarizing kink-exhibit novelty that was Fifty Shades of Grey. But instead of diving deeper, pushing toward a new direction, or righting past wrongs, this film just feels like a lackluster sequel that's simply here because it's tied to an obligation. Running through the motions. A peculiar case of scandal-lite.

The plot sees Christian (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) rekindle their steamy affair again, but this time Anastasia insists "No rules, no punishments, and no more secrets" (I guess those are rules, though). Anyway, it doesn't take an erotic fiction expert to know that these guidelines aren't going to last. When creeping co-workers and jealous exes get involved, things are bound to get DARKER...

...But not really. There are actually quite a few genuinely chuckle-worthy moments that break through some of awkward air, as if director James Foley is letting the audience in and drawing attention to the inanity of it all. So, for a brief time I thought, okay this isn't that bad. It's watchable. It's not making me want to rip my eyes out. But after a while it just becomes tremendously dull and boring. The stilted dialogue, the static repetition, the robotic lust, and Christian's crude and stalkerish possessiveness is all too tiresome over the course of two hours. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan still don't have any chemistry, and you know, chemistry is fairly vital for a film like this.

It's the type of narrative that Lifetime movies have pulled off with more gusto. This thing has the dramatic heft of a daytime soap opera. And the sex scenes aren't really anything you can't witness on premium cable (I suppose there's a bit more spanking though). While the film itself isn't appallingly bad or anything, it still isn't even close to edgy enough (for better or worse) to be memorable.

All things considered, Fifty Shades Darker is pretty vanilla.

( 4/10 )

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