Fifty Shades of Grey

A perfect weekend for its release. The original victims of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre died more peacefully than the audience.

Fifty Shades of GreyFifty Shades of Grey was an insult to the porno industry. As the film concluded with our loving couple saying goodbye at an elevator, most of the audience responded with derisive laughter. I’m sure this wasn’t the only crowd that knew they had been conned.

Movie fans like me learned the meaning of porn films back in college in the 1960s. Frequently shown at bachelor parties, nearly everyone soon stopped watching as we drank whiskey, smoked whatever was available and laughed with good friends.

On the other hand, there have been good x-rated films released over the years. Find a way to see Mrs. Barrington (1974) and Nymphomaniac 1 (2013) if you are interested. Mrs. Barrington was laced with outrageous humor as you watched our star earn a living by seducing elderly widowers to a quick,  orgasmically induced death. Unlike Fifty Shades, Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac displayed a relationship between a dominator and his female submissive in a violent style that actually held your attention.

To briefly list its shortcomings, let’s begin with Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, who previously directed Nowhere Boy (2009), an intriguing story about a teenage John Lennon. With Fifty Shades, our director does little more than go through the motions as we watch a naive college senior being seduced by a young, immensely wealthy corporate giant utterly devoid of a personality.

Dakota Johnson is stuck in the role of Anastasia Steele, a virginal waif whose only identifiable skill is to continually bite her lower lip. Living near Seattle as she works part-time in a hardware store, this young woman instantly becomes yours if you can buy her a new car and give her a helicopter ride.

And then there is Jamie Dorman, playing our central character Christian Grey. Enormously intrigued by Anastasia, he seeks a relationship that comes with conditions associated with visiting his Playroom.

The plot is actually best summed up by Christian’s own quote concerning himself, “Fifty Shades of f- – -ed up.” While he wants Anastasia to sign a contract defining her role, she accepts Christian’s sexual appetizers as she wrestles over devouring the entire meal. This was an allegedly smart woman who would agree to be tied up, spanked and whipped, but only if she was able to maintain her dignity. Need I say more?

Though the film carries an R rating, it basically does little more than exploit women. The sexual scenes are brutally amateurish, continually showing Ms. Johnson naked from the waist up as she does her occasional best to moan and groan with some passion. It is not an exaggeration to say that you are likely to be left shaking your head when you see her tell Christian that she is “falling in love” after a good whipping.

Unless you tend to believe that bondage is a girl’s best friend, I’d suggest that you keep your whips and chains locked away in your imaginary basement. Just get mildly intoxicated and let nature take its course. I strongly suspect you will have more fun.