‘Grey’ lacks any shading of eroticism, danger

By Bob Bloom
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is one big blob of bland.
The movie lacks personality and — more importantly — passion, considering it’s the story of two consensual adults who enter into a sadomasochistic sexual relationship.
It also doesn’t help that the two lead actors — Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johns50 shades of grey 2on, playing Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele — are dull and lifeless.
Performers in those late-night soft porn films that air on HBO show more intensity and chemistry than Dornan and Johnson.
“Grey” has about as much steam as a day-old cup of Earl Grey. The sexual scenes are ordinary and fail to push the envelope; they definitely do not arouse any viewer.
The movie is one big snooze fest that tries very hard to be provocative, touching on a subject that the filmmakers hope will titillate audiences.
Instead, the film is clinical and distant. The sex scenes are standard and safe and add nothing new to expanding the boundaries of sexuality on screen.
“9½ Weeks” was more inflammatory, and “Blue Velvet” was more dangerous and disturbing.
Not having read E.L. James’ book, I cannot make a comparison, but I am guessing the filmmakers had to pull back from what they wants to show to earn an “R” rating.
Interestingly, the best scene in the film is where Christian and Ana conduct a business meeting, negotiating over the contract he wants her to sign about what they can and cannot do sexually.
It offers a glimpse of playfulness and humor — two items lacking throughout the rest of the film.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” can’t really decide what it wants to be. Is it a love story? A sexual fantasy? A contemporary adult romance? Or simply female exploitation.
Yes, while Johnson bares most everything for the camera, the film follows the standard Hollywood ritual of only showing Dornan’s nude body rom the rear.
In a film that is supposedly trying to show viewers a sexual world that many may be unfamiliar with, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is timid and timeworn.
It also doesn’t help that neither Dornan nor Johnson generates any chemistry with each other — or the audience. They are walking mannequins and fail to display the intensity that should have propelled their roles.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” lacks eroticism and energy. You won’t need a cold shower after seeing it, but you may need a stiff drink.

Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at Reel Bob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found on Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

1 star out of 4
(R), nudity, graphic sexual content, language, mature themes, unusual behavior

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