We’ve now been freed from the shackles of one of the most poorly-written and terribly-acted trilogies of all-time.
It’s fair to say the trio of Fifty Shades films haven’t lived up to the hype of EL James’ novels – and each film has got continually worse so that they’ve (for the most part) ended up unintentionally laughable.
But despite its many failings, there’s still a bright and breezy air of likeability to this final chapter that knows ‘what it is’ – as it provides a clumsily-scripted erotic love tale that may still appease its mainly female demographic.
Believing they have left the shadowy figures from the world behind, newlyweds Christian (Jamie Dornan) and Ana (Dakota Johnson) fully embrace their life of luxury – complete with regular intervals of (some BDSM-inspired) sexual exploits.
But just as she steps into her new role as Mrs Grey, and her new husband tries to relax into unfamiliar territory – with his overly defensive and possessive nature still rearing its head – Ana’s ex-boss Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) is seemingly hell bent on destroying the couple’s ‘happy ever after’.
Through one of the most clichéd and monotonous scripts ever devised, Christian and Ana whip-up multiple sexual interludes between predictable set pieces – car chase, intruder in house, baby talk, Ana’s defiance of her new husband etc – that ends up with a truly embarrassing kidnapping scenario involving Christian’s sister (the horrendously wooden Rita Ora), that looks like a really poor episode of CSI.
A rushed sub-plot sex triangle between Kate (Eloise Mumford), Elliot (Luke Grimes) and Gia (Arielle Kebbel) sums up the Fifty Shades experience (outside of the sex of course) as director James Foley’s final chapter isn’t fleshed out anywhere near enough – even feeling a little unnecessarily rushed – and the bad guy of the piece (Johnson’s villain Hyde) is just comically bad.
This leaves you unable to care about any of the characters, bar maybe the main two, who do have some chemistry despite what some naysayers may imply – and some may end up caring for them. If only a little bit. And they’re both better actors than the script they have in front of them suggests.
But as it stands, Ana going in Christian’s ‘Red Room’ definitely doesn’t have the same sexual anticipation as it had when the first part came out three years ago – in fact the sex is the tamest it’s ever been despite more regularity – as the third part harmlessly meanders to a close with an extremely stereotypical paint-by-numbers finale that would have been more akin to an ‘after the watershed’ TV movie.
If it wasn’t for the ‘implied’ sexual preferences, this could easily be a ‘15’ or even, at a push, a ‘12A’.
Fans may have got the climax that they craved, but for the rest of us it all ends up well, a bit . . . meh.
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Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Eloise Mumford, Luke Grimes, Jennifer Ehle, Max Martini, Rita Ora, Arielle Kebbel, Brant Daugherty & Marcia Gay Harden
Running Time: 1 Hr 45 Mins
Director: James Foley
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