I pride myself on not being a literary snob.
I read (and write) fanfiction for fun. I like to think mine is better than most, and my reviews would suggest that, so I'll stand by my assertion.
I read Twilight. All the books. And even liked them. I wasn't crazy mad over them - they were a reasonable fluffy beach read, and that's fine.
So I knew, as a reader/writer of fanfiction (and no, I've never written Twilight fanfic), I knew that Fifty Shades of Grey was a re-tooled Twilight Fanfic. E.L. James took a passable fic, turned it around, and laughed all the way to the bank.
More power to her.
I read the first book of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, and I have to say, I had no urge to read the other two, even though I bought the whole trilogy. It sat in my Kindle, unread for months. I didn't hate it, but I didn't particularly like or feel invested in either character enough to want to read the rest.
Then I got walking pneumonia and a stuck in bed for a week going stir-crazy, so I read the other two books. I actually liked them marginally better than the first book. Marginally.
I tell you all this so it is abundantly clear that I went to see this movie with really, really low expectations. The fact of the matter is, I will cheerfully and unashamedly pay good money to see Jamie Dornan's mostly naked body. I don't really care if the movie is bad. Just let me ogle him and I'm good.
I am here to tell you that I stand corrected. Not even Jamie Dornan's gloriously naked ass could save this festering turd of a movie.
Just a few observations:
- This is supposed to be BDSM Mommyporn? I've been hit in the face with a Lego harder than he spanked her ass. And the slo-mo smacking with the flogger was so comical, people were actually laughing out loud in the theater.
- Dakota Johnson needs to eat a sammidge or two. I get that thin is all the rage in Hollywood, but she just looks emaciated. Protruding ribs and sharp, upstanding hipbones just aren't sexy to me. No wonder her voice is so damn breathy - she's malnourished in the extreme. And she's gnawing her lip off out of pure hunger, I'm guessing.
- I get that they can't say "Advil" or show "Advil" with the brand name on it without Advil's permission, but when a guy you've just met stalks you to a nightclub (by tracing your cellphone no less) and forces you (while you're inebriated) to go home with him, then you wake to strange blue pills by the bed with a note that says "Eat me"....you might wanna think about that. This is a girl who's supposed to have a 4.0 GPA (or so she states in her first couple of lines).
- Christian Grey is supposed to be a tortured soul. Instead, he comes off as a psychopathic, torturing soul almost entirely devoid of emotion. It's creepy in the extreme, and in the sex scenes, he's very....clinical. I don't know how else to say it. He studies her like a lab specimen, not a lover. And why does he run his open mouth up and down, skimming, but not quite touching her body? Over and over and over. Was it a directorial choice? Jamie, honey, come on over and hang with me. I'll let you actually touch your lips to my body. I promise.
- Speaking of open mouths - Dakota Johnson needs to close her damn jaws before something flies in. Maybe she's hoping someone will stuff it with a sandwich. She spends the whole movie panting through her open mouth and only closes it to bite her lip, which we always get a close-up on so we are sure to see that she did it. And then, of course, Christian has to mention it. So we know she's biting her damn lip. Again.
- There is zero, and I mean ZERO chemistry between these two actors. ZERO. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
- I appreciate that they're endorsing safe sex, but do I really need to see him tearing condoms open with his teeth again and again? And really - teeth? Not the safest thing to open a condom with.
- The romantic parts of the movie - or let's say "The parts they tried to romanticize" were the times that he spent extravagant amounts of money on her or showed off the fact that he was wealthy. The helicopter ride. The new car. The computer he bought her. The morning glider ride. Standing in front of his floor-to-ceiling windows in his glitzy apartment and checking out the view. Meeting in his opulent boardroom with his personal assistants serving them dinner and chardonnay as they discuss his sex contract. The only time they attempted any kind of romance without money or wealth tied to it was a weird dance scene that started out stilted and devolved into Dakota Johnson looking like she was having a seizure. I'm not kidding.
- It's clear that Jamie Dornan got a dialect coach so that he could sound nice and American, but honestly, the only time I got turned on in this movie was when he slipped and his natural Irish lilt came through - which happened a couple of times. Instant panty-steamer. It's a sad state of affairs when a man's accent has you squirming more than the sight of his naked, thrusting ass.
But Jamie. Jamie, Jamie, Jamie....I adored you in Once Upon A Time. The day they killed off Sheriff Graham was a sad, sad day. I wish to God they could write in a long-lost twin brother for his character and bring him back, but alas...they've already used that trick somewhere else. I hope this movie isn't a death-knell for his career, but I can't imagine this will be easy to come back from. At least he's got modeling to fall back on.
I can't wait for this to come out on DVD so I can invite some friends over to MST3K this thing over margaritas. Who knows? Maybe someday this will become a cult classic. Maybe it'll go full-on Rocky Horror and people will dress up in gray ties and plum dresses with handcuffs and shout "Laters, baby!" while throwing cable ties at the screen. We could be witnessing the genesis of it all.
I'll hold to that thought. And to the memory of Jamie Dornan as he once was. smiling that lopsided grin, offering Emma Swan a box of donuts before he headed out to bang the evil queen.
I'm going to give this movie one handcuff out of five, and only because Jamie Dornan does in fact, have a wonderful ass. And a bit of an accent here and there.