FIFTY Shades Duller, sorry Darker, was my dirty secret at the weekend.
I just thought I would have a little look at the second instalment of E.L James’ sadomasochistic romance, you know, for review purposes.
But plot wise, the film is as threadbare as Anastasia Steele’s underwear collection and does it make me sound like a pervert if I say the sex scenes, although stylishly shot, were not in the bulk nor contained the ‘kinky fuckery’ we were promised?
Ana has landed herself a job as an assistant at a fancy Seattle publishing house and is adamant she will never speak to Christian Grey again after all her experiences with him in the first film. That is until she runs into the brooding billionaire at a friend’s photography show and he has bought all the frames featuring her as ‘he cannot bear anyone else looking at her’ (oh yes, the cheese counter is open for business from here on in). She shows remarkable little resistance when he asks her out: “Ok, I will have dinner with you because I am hungry.”
Apparently, he cannot live without her, but this time it is on her terms so ‘no rules, no punishments and no more secrets’. The descent into dreadful begins.
You see him on his knees, but he is producing some bog-standard bling. And if the filth is not there to save it, it goes down quicker than his chopper into the bush during another memorable moment (I mean his helicopter, scamps).
We are lead to believe, however, that he has the magic touch. A quick knicker-less fumble in the lift as they travel a few floors and housekeeping will need to put out some of those yellow plastic triangle signs to prevent an unforeseen slippage.
We do have a skulk around the infamous red room, after his cleaner has finished dusting it. And Grey tries out a majorette stick with cuffs attached, although they get unbuckled quick smart as they are just in the way of the missionary position. Nipple clamps put in an appearance, but only on fingers. Ana does go to a party with silver balls secreted in an orifice, but this is simply a warm up act for some stock shagging.
It seems we are supposed to believe these are all really dirty shenanigans because the stars are seen taking endless showers. Trench foot must have featured somewhere in the production risk assessment paperwork.
Much has been made of the team behind this latest adaptation. Director for the first Fifty Shades of Grey Sam Taylor-Johnson restrained James’ appalling soft porn into something just about watchable, wrestling the dubious prose into a workable script and coaxing from Dakota Johnson a cute and naïve literature graduate and dumbing down Jamie Dornan into the world’s most eligible (deranged but dishy) bachelor.
T-J jacked it in after James’ alleged whip-cracking and the Big Boss then drafted in her own submissives – James Foley directing and her own husband in charge of the script so, heavens above, we are as true to the book as we are ever going to get – and that is the problem. Boobs galore, just the wrong kind.
Somehow, James is worth $58 million and is credited with reviving the sex lives of millions of people, not to mention a baby boom. Quite an unfathomable legacy.
I could have been watching Dallas or Dynasty as martinis fly into faces followed by dramatic slap chasers before the swish of a huge blow dry and a look that says ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’ for film number three. That was Kim Basinger, herself taking a bit of a break from anything that could be perceived as acting for her role in this pantomime.
The Dickensian-waif lurking in the shadows with a revolver for good measure turns out to be a former Grey sub driven by jealousy. He has files on all of them. I made the emoji face with all the teeth at this point.
Grey’s love rival is also a sadist so the moral of the story appears to be thus; if all men are, you may as well go for the one who earns $24,000 every 15 minutes. What a positive message to pedal.
It did make me want a loft apartment with restored interior brick walls, a polished concrete kitchen work surface and some reclaimed industrial lighting. I think that is all I lusted after come the end.
That said, there is a cheeky shot of Dornan astride a pommel horse in his penthouse gym, which is not to be sniffed at. Cue flogging dead horse references – but someone is buying this stuff, so there is no end in sight.