review by Bobby Blakey
I cannot stand the Fifty Shades franchise, but was surprised to find something that involves it that I might be interested in seeing. The new film Book Club from first time director and writer of the A Walk in the Woods Bill Holderman features and impressive cast including Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Richard Dreyfuss, Alicia Silverstone, and Ed Begley Jr. but does it bring the laughs or is it another case of the Fifty Shades trilogy bringing down a film?
Book Club follows Diane who is recently widowed after 40 years of marriage, Vivian who enjoys her men with no strings attached, Sharon who is still working through a decades-old divorce and Carol whose marriage is in a slump after 35 years. These four lifelong friends’ lives are turned upside down when their book club tackles the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey. From discovering new romance to rekindling old flames, they inspire each other to make their next chapter the best chapter. There is something about seeing these iconic actresses on screen together that just works. Sure the movie plays it pretty by the numbers throughout, but still feels like something fresh thanks to the star power and chemistry between them all.
The simple story of friendship here would have likely been enough for this film to still deliver the fun, but the addition of using the Fifty Shades series as the catalyst made for a more relatable story for everyone. All of us deal with versions of the issues these ladies are going through and most of it has nothing to do with age which I enjoyed even more so about this film. While their mature age obviously plays into it they didn’t harp on the old jokes and instead just let these ladies have some fun. Their supporting love interests are all great as well with each of them fully in for the long haul. Everyone here seems to be having a blast and it shines through in their performances right up to the end.
I admit that I thought it would be funny but was afraid that it would play it so safe it would miss the mark, but thanks to all those involved it works great. Sure there isn’t anything here that you haven’t seen at some point, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and they were smart to let the film play and rely on the star power involved because they fully deliver.
In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including deleted and extended scenes as well as numerous featurettes taking you behind bringing this film to life. Join the club and grab your copy of Book Club available now on Digital and then on Blu-ray and DVD on August 28th from Paramount Home Entertainment.