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February 22, 2015

"50 Shades of Grey" is an overwhelmingly limp cinematic experience bordering on fraud. Do not see it.

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In case you're Bevis or Butthead and might actually like this movie I won't spoil it for you by backing up this post with any concrete examples--but I made the mistake of seeing "50 of Shades Grey" on Friday night late with a D.C. yuppie 30-and 40-something audience that found it just as empty as I did in every respect. After the first 45 minutes, viewers laughed derisively, left early or talked with their friends in the hallways and restrooms. This movie has less sensuality and sexual tension than either Pee-wee Herman movie made 20 years ago. Not an exaggeration.

I knew nothing about "Shades" before buying my ticket except for what I could pick up from the outsized ad campaign. There was a huge build-up for this film, which apparently was based on a book which the movie is said is to fairly follow in substance and tone. The disappointment delivered from these towering expectations that the film--even if it failed at box office or with critics--would at least be on occasions "hot" or "unique" borders on outright fraud. It is not.

(Note to self: Fraud, misrepresentation and/or at least a detrimental reliance theory under the Restatement of Ks (2nd) comes to mind. Again, as with the Pee-wee Herman comment above, I am not kidding.)

"Shades" is not hot, cute, tense. edgy, erotic or sexy. "Neutered" is the word I'd use for the male lead, who comes off as a shallow twit masquerading as existential hero and lonely tortured artist. The female lead is sufficiently pathetic playing the role but convinced me she is as asexual in real life as she was in this movie. I half-jokingly mentioned to a friend that this entire BDSM farce must have been cooked up by either Brits and/or Gen-Y Americans who are taking a "guess" at what eroticism, spontaneity and sport-swiving might have been like when Baby Boomers were as sexually active as deranged rabbits between the early 60s and mid-80s until AIDS came along. Anyway, they guessed wrong. Boomers have special equipment, procedures and protocols for work and maybe fly-fishing--but not for sex. Sex, at least for happy people, is reinvented, over and over again.

Posted by JD Hull at February 22, 2015 11:32 AM

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