Hot Take: Are you sure this isn’t a Nancy Meyers/Garry Marshall collaboration? Maybe Bill Holderman is a pseudonym.
No matter the talent of the cast, you have to think a film inspired by the Fifty Shades of Grey book series has to have problems. Heck, we’ve already experienced the problems of the book series being adapted for the big screen. Now, we get to experience a bunch of older women and their reaction to reading the smutty best sellers. I’m sure plenty of cinephiles will get a kick out of seeing Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen working together as well as the supporting cast of Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Richard Dreyfuss, Ed Begley Jr. and Wallace Shawn. However, thanks to a mind numbing plot and lazy writing and directing, even this stellar cast can’t salvage this geriatric version of Sex and the City.
Is there a chance Holderman and co-writer Erin Simms found this script at an estate sale of Garry Marshall’s estate? It doesn’t feel that far off. While nowhere near as annoying as Marshall’s final film, Mother’s Day, Book Club had the same look and feel of the ensemble films that bogged down the end fo Marshall’s career. This desire to bring together a superstar cast of aging screen veterans for an insipid, uninspired comedy has become a disturbing cinematic trend. While some critic curmudgeons have become concerned with the end of the cinema as we know it because of the onslaught of comic book films, I’d worry more about this painful tendency. There are times where the comedy even reaches television sitcom levels and every single performer in this movie deserves better.
It’s easy for a film like Book Club to get made though. With such a small budget and enough box office talent to guarantee the movie will cover its cost, it feels like a no brainer that it gets made. A $10 million budget for Book Club is easy to justify and releasing it in the midst of a testosterone-filled cineplex obsessed with comic book films and heading into the less articulate summer season fills a need for its starved target audience. Even though it make business sense, though, it never makes it ok to make a subpar comedy that wastes the caliber of talent pulled together for this mess of a movie.
You’re over 50 and long for a reunion with some of your favorite film stars.
The thought of a movie based on a group of older women sharing the experience of reading Fifty Shades of Grey makes you cringe.