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Film review: Book Club registers as little more than a tawdry, fitfully engaging romantic comedy

06 June, 2018 - 08:46
Diane Keaton as Diane, Candice Bergen as Sharon, Jane Fonda as Vivian and Mary Steenburgen as Carol in Book Club. Picture: PARAMOUNT PICTURES/MELINDA SUE GORDON

Diane Keaton as Diane, Candice Bergen as Sharon, Jane Fonda as Vivian and Mary Steenburgen as Carol in Book Club. Picture: PARAMOUNT PICTURES/MELINDA SUE GORDON

Archant

Since its publication in 2011, E. L James’ 50 Shades of Grey and its sequels have inspired a seemingly endless slew of films and books, parodying its raunchy prose to varying comedic effect.

Seven years on, however, those sniggering innuendos feel terribly dated and are, as they always were, desperately un-funny.

Clearly, first time writer- director Bill Holderman and co-writer Erin Simms did not get the message and so fill their tale of four friends (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen) finding their love lives reinvigorated by the Fifty Shades books with ear-scraping, humourless one-liners and dull, unengaging romantic trysts.

Watching the central cast juggle such frightful dialogue is quite honestly embarrassing.

The whole sorry affair is polluted by possibly one of the most irritating soundtracks in recent memory overlaying almost every scene, desperately trying to convince us that the film’s premise is a novel idea (it isn’t) and that the variety of scrapes our central quartet find them selves in are oh-so –terribly- funny (they’re not).

The film is not entirely devoid of virtue. Keaton, Fonda, Bergen and Steenburgen share a warm, believable chemistry and, despite the poor script, make their protagonists much more than just dreary, two-dimensional characters.

Andy Garcia is also a highlight, injecting a much-needed charm as Keaton’s amiable love interest Mitchell.

Despite the best efforts of its game cast Book Club registers as little more than a tawdry, fitfully engaging romantic comedy.

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