Fifty Shades of Grey – A reluctant movie review

Leave it to Valentine’s Day and the recent release of a soft-core porn flick called Fifty Shades of Grey to force me into submission, kicking and screaming (figuratively, of course) on my way to a movie theater for the first time in years.

After being conned into a matinee showing Saturday I wasn’t all that surprised at how women outnumbered men in attendance. But while I was impressed by their enthusiasm, I was a bit perplexed at how the men of Central Florida weren’t effectively using opening weekend to their advantage, to reach out and connect with ladies looking for a Hallmark holiday companion.

The movie was everything you heard it might be from those who’ve already reviewed it: slow-building, boring, awkward, mildly provocative, accidentally humorous. Or was the humor supposed to be there? At least those are some of my takes on it after having never read a single word from the books.

What stood out most though was, based on the premise of the whole S&M dominate/submissive thing, was how this franchise has become such a pop culture phenomenon that’s spawned stuff like Fifty Shades sex toys being sold at Target. It’s got me wondering what this kind of stuff says about our society. Especially since teenagers and middle-aged women alike have been fascinated by the books, which I’m told are much more sexually graphic in detail than that of the R-rated movie.

Moments such as this remind me how fortunate I should feel to not have a young daughter during these Grey times. I could’t imagine the thought of her even being mildly interested in such smut. Jarett Wieselman summed things up nicely at BuzzFeed after sitting through the film.

I personally have nothing against the books or movie, aside from the fact that I’ll never get those two hours of my life back.

I nearly fell asleep twice, although the amount of beer I consumed beforehand likely played a part in that. What’s worse though is I had to pull out my phone to find out how much more time was left in the damn thing, somewhere around the moment when Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan) was smacking the hell out of the backside of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) with a whip, or belt, or whatever he had hanging in that creepy man cave.

Maybe I’m disappointed at how unsexy all the sex actually was throughout the movie. The characters appear cold and the director seems undecided on whether this was intended to be a drama or dark comedy while toeing a fine line between sexual excess and packaging for mass consumption.

To sum it all up, there’s this insecure college girl (who happens to be a virgin, of all things) who gets down and dirty a number of times with a kinky control freak who has deep pockets and a garbage bag full of emotional issues. As you might guess, like most volatile relationships, they eventually have a falling out after not seeing eye-to-eye when Mr. Grey decides to kick things up another notch or two in the bedroom.

But rest assured Fifty Shades of Grey junkies, the makeup sex is surely to be the basis of the sequel. I’m just holding out hope that the second installment is not released again on Valentine’s Day, because I just might have some very important things to get done around the house that month if it does.

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