I'll See You at the Movies

Book Club

For obvious reasons, I’m not even remotely interested in the whole “Fifty Shades of Grey” world. I’ve never read the books, I only saw the original, and it was so bad, I skipped its two sequels. But seeing “Book Club,” which focuses on middle aged women becoming stimulated by its content, is just as lame.

The middle aged women consist of Diane Keaton as Diane, Jane Fonda as Vivian, Candice Bergen as Sharon, and Mary Steenburgen as Carol. They have their usual book club, and the book of the month is you know what. They become so turned on by the book, that they decide to spice up their love lives.

Diane is a widowed mother, whose daughters (Alicia Silverstone and Katie Aselton) want her to move from California to their hometown in Arizona, and worry about her safety. She becomes smitten by a charming pilot (Andy Garcia). The romance between Keaton and Garcia is better than the daughter story. In fact, it’s worse than Helen Mirren’s kids in “The Leisure Seeker,” because of the ways they make awkward faces, and how they have to be the typical worrywart kids.

Vivian is the owner of a Beverly Hills hotel, who reunites with an old flame (Don Johnson). She rejected his proposal years ago, and he tries to sweep her off her feet. Why did she dump him? I don’t know, and I don’t think the movie does either.

Sharon is a federal judge, whose son and ex husband (Ed Begley, Jr.) are both engaged to be married. She goes on a dating website, and her two individual dates are a tax attorney (Richard Dreyfus) and a doctor (Wallace Shawn). We see Bergen and Dreyfus make out in the car after a little wining and dining, but so what? And Shawn only appears in cameo.

And finally, Carol and her husband (Craig T. Nelson) have lost their sexual fun, and not even their dance lessons could help them. She sneaks viagra in his drink, but that boner joke falls flat. I was hoping for at least a surprising tickle, but that’s it.

It’s nice to see some great actresses like Keaton, Fonda, Bergen, and Steenburgen having fun with their wine and dialogue at their book clubs, but outside, it’s just lame, standard stuff with unfunny results. The humor falls flat with the characters finding themselves in awkward positions, and the movie assumes every tiny thing is funny. Either that, or there’s something I’m not really seeing.

When the movie goes tender, I feel bad for saying these things, indicating that I’ve seen worse movies of its kind (Keaton’s worst movies are “Look Who’s Talking Now” and “Love the Coopers”). But I also deserve some charm and delights, and “Book Club” has very little of that. I’m probably the luckiest film critic in America for skipping the “Fifty Shades” sequels, but who knows?

⭐️1/2

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