50 Shades of Gray Review: Nothing Much to Miss

This past weekend opened up with the much-anticipated big screen adaptation of the worldwide phenomenon book series “50 Shades of Gray,” written by E.L. James, and it utterly failed to impress.

The movie is already breaking records for ticket sales at 80+ million over the Valentine’s Day weekend, quickly ranking amongst such sizzling hits as “Basic Instinct” as one of the biggest R-rated movie debuts in cinematic history. However, in spite of its obvious financial, as well as sensual. success, it most certainly serves as a prime example of a film coasting on controversial material and hype.

There are two distinct ways to look at the movie. Either for how well it does based on the material given to it, or as a movie by itself, with no preconceived notions of the book. If one views it having already read the books, it does well enough with the material given to it. Having been based upon books that are already less than well-written, it fits in well for an easily forgettable, somewhat steamy date night movie. It’s….passable. The director obviously tried his best with what was given to him, and Dakota Johnson does remarkably well as Anastasia Steele. Her co-star, on the other end of the spectrum, is about as charming as a plank of wood. He is not a dominant. He isn’t even an interesting character, let alone a convincing sexually dominant person.

They have less sexual chemistry than Larry King and Nancy Pelosi.

If, on the other hand, one views it as a movie on its own, without any perspective on the books, it still fails to impress at all. It isn’t even amusingly bad, like the “Twilight” films or “The Room”. It’s just sort of…there. It damn sure doesn’t stand out for being an excellent movie, but nor does it stand out as being particularly bad. It’s just underwhelming. One of the only bright spots is the soundtrack, and with this not being a musical it’s not enough to redeem the flick. A particular downfall is just how vanilla it is sexually, especially when one takes into account just how scandalous the subject matter and original source material are. It could have truly pushed the boundaries for what is acceptable in today’s pasteurized, MPAA controlled film industry.

It had that opportunity and royally squandered it by catering to the mainstream masses. It allowed itself to be utterly neutered.

Altogether, this movie is just….blah. It actually had promise to live beyond its poorly done material and really do something with it to make the censors cringe and wring their hands. Instead, it just falls to the wayside of just being a mediocre, somewhat steamy date night movie. No really erotic frills, non-scandalous scenes.

It’s just “Twilight” with cushioned whips.

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