If Hollywood has problems in how it represents females on screen in general, it has an even longer journey ahead when it comes to how it presents female sexuality. “Fifty Shades Darker” is terrible. I mean, let’s just get that out of the way immediately. It’s choppy, feels like a bad soap opera you fell asleep in the middle of, and, oh, it’s SO SO SO BORING. Like, to the point where a nap would have been more sensual than watching Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attempt to muster chemistry with each other. I mean, I’m probably the target market for this, a work at home mom, who is in deep need of relaxing and escape. However, I found myself more turned on about the possibility of a some solo time with some good wine and a nap than I was watching this movie. But, it is unapologetically supportive of female sexuality and fantasy, so for that, I gotta give it some props. SOME (very little).
When “Darker” opens, we are only a few days out from “Grey”, and Ana is sad over her breakup from Christian and Christian, is lost and having nightmares about his childhood without Ana. The answer, of course, is for him to stalk her and win her back, because this is how things are done? Anyway. So, stalking works. Hurray. She doesn’t want to be owned, or possessed…Christian says he can try to be vanilla for her (how gallant of him). Two seconds later, she’s basically saying ‘everything I said about owning me? I lied- do it.’ In between the owning-non owning sex stuff, we meet an ex-sub of Christian’s who is a wreck and stalking Ana, an older woman who introduced Christian to the BDSM lifestyle who is now jealous, and Ana’s creepy boss who goes from kinda normal boss to Mr. Rapey in like, a frame. Also- a whole bunch of “plots” that not only do not play well but are just plain hilarious because well, they are stupid.
Truth be told, I had a lot more fun with “Grey” because the writer was hyper aware of the ridiculousness of the original text that it actually poked fun at itself. I mean, it gave us the classic line of “Laters baby” and “I’m fifty shades of fucked up.” Who could actually take themselves seriously with lines like that? “Darker” severely lacked fun quality and I know that it was because they wanted to stay “true” to the text. But, come on, the text was absurd to begin with, so at least try to have fun with it.
That brings me to the only three things in the film that were somewhat enjoyable.
- The Chronicles of Riddick poster in Christian’s childhood bedroom. The whole theatre busted out laughing at those very noticeable shots, and rightfully so. Who knew Mr. Grey was a Riddick fan?
- Ana taking a more senior role at work, and uttering the same words her mother did in “Working Girl.” Aww.
- Oh, and this:
The rest? Terrible. Girls- we like sex too, we need to insist for better than this (Jamie’s abs can stay though).
Fifty Shades Darker is now out in theaters.