Movie review: ‘Fifty Shades’ painful to watch

Movie review: ‘Fifty Shades’ painful to watch
The Fresno BeeFebruary 12, 2015 Updated 14 hours ago
Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey (2015). (Universal Pictures/TNS) HANDOUT — TNS

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No one said the masochism part of the story in “Fifty Shades of Grey” had to do with what the audience would be put through.

There has never been a film so painful to watch, both because of how poorly it’s written, acted and shot and for its disgustingly vulgar treatment of women. The movie would be painfully laughable if it wasn’t so horribly offensive.

Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is the most mysterious and desired man on the planet. He takes a fancy to Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), a woman whose dullness is only surpassed by her naivety. They meet over the kind of convoluted plot usually reserved for pornos. He’s smitten. It’s hard to tell what emotion she’s feeling because Johnson’s acting range goes from blank stare to bland stare.

Slowly – ice age slowly – they come together. She’s ready to fall in love. He’s ready to get into a contract that would make Steele his submissive. He’s shocked when she balks at the idea.

Steele must have thought he was going to punish her by making her watch this slow-moving tale of two people who are so emotionally broken that they don’t deserve to be with anyone, let alone each other.

Doran has some charm but not the kind of infectious charisma that would make him the kind of man a woman would throw out any least vestiges of her self-esteem to be with.

Johnson’s character is supposed to be on the needy side, but Pinocchio’s Blue Fairy could bring life to her wooden performance.

The first half of the film is laughable because of the cheesy dialogue. When Grey tells Steele that he’s the wrong man for her and he has “to let her go,” the exchange isn’t emotional, just stupid. And, it doesn’t stop there. The script by Kelly Marcel, which is based on the novel by E.L. James, is a clunky collection of boring moments between the pair that are about as romantic as cleaning the gutters.

And, if that wasn’t enough to make you flatten all the tires on your car to keep from seeing it, this is one of those movies that ends abruptly to set up a sequel.

The kind of excitement and anticipation for the book being turned into a movie has in the past been reserved for the next “Harry Potter” or “Twilight” offering. But millions who don’t subscribe to the soft porn world of Cinemax After Dark have been almost orgasmic with each bit of info on this film whipped out by the studio. The rude awakening for them is that there’s a big difference between reading about two horrible people and seeing it on the big screen.

The furor will mean a huge opening box office weekend that is almost a criminal act because the movie sets new standards for incompetence, incoherence and insensitivity. Many a Valentine weekend will be ruined by this cinematic schlock.

The only good thing is that no one will ever make a walk of shame that is as embarrassing or humiliating as being seen coming out of this movie.


Grade: F.

Stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.

Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Running time: 110 minutes.

Rated R for strong sexual content, unusual behavior, graphic nudity, language.
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