4 Ways the '50 Shades of Grey' Film Is Worse Than You Expect
The trailer for Twilight fan fiction turned inexplicable best-selling trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey debuted recently, treating us all to a glimpse of a world populated by frumpy secretaries and the Picasso-faced businessmen who have sex with them.
But because the novel, at its core, is terrible, and because Hollywood has no idea how to handle any exploration of sex that doesn't conform to a very specific road map of male domination and plot cliches, this movie isn't even going to provide the trashy fun that made the book a success in the first place.
The Writing Is Terrible (Both the Script and the Source Novel)
You'd think most actors would be familiar with the amount of risque belly slapping in the book, but there's no shortage of people reading the script and bursting into fits of shocked laughter. There's a rumor that Charlie Hunnam, who was originally cast in the lead role, dropped out because he didn't like the script, and he starred in last year's Pacific Rim, which contained a character named Stacker Pentecost and a man with golden shoes.
Actress Chloe Bridges, star of the Sex and the City spinoff The Carrie Diaries, read the three pages she was given for her audition and immediately said, "I really can't do this."
"I just thought it."
So who the hell is writing this thing anyway? Well, Kelly Marcel first adapted the novel into a screenplay, but her draft apparently wasn't quite right for the studio, so they called in Mark Bomback to clean it up. Bomback's recent writing credits include The Wolverine, the remake of Total Recall, and Live Free or Die Hard -- movies universally considered to contain some of the shittiest writing this generation of filmmakers has yet produced.
Considering some of the lines from the original book, we can't imagine what sorcery they expected that man to perform to make the film's dialogue sound any less ridiculous:
"Why is anyone the way they are? That's kind of hard to answer. Why do some people like cheese and other people hate it? Do you like cheese?"
"My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves."
We're not sure if that line is worse if uttered during a literal dance or a sexual one.
At one point, the female lead, Anastasia Steele, is tied to a bed and admires the handiwork of the knots, because that's something a normal person does.
"Some boy scout he must have been to learn these knots."
We suddenly totally understand why Charlie Hunnam, after already being hired for the movie, walked out after finally reading the script.
The Male Lead Is So Boring, Nobody Wanted to Play Him
Christian Grey, the lead male character, is best described as an impossibly rich white man with a helicopter who "knows what he wants and gets it," which in this case is punishing sex with subservient women. So basically, he's a dick on a magic broom.
"Do you have any interests outside of work?"
"No. That would suggest a fully formed character."
His penis is the only unique personality trait he has, which probably explains why no one wants to play him. Ryan Gosling was the original choice, but he turned the script down (presumably because Grey speaks more than 15 sentences, which is something Ryan Gosling cannot abide). Secondary choice Christian Cooke also declined. Garett Hedlund said he "couldn't connect with the character," and that's harsh criticism coming from the star of Tron: Legacy.
Connecting with horrifying CG Jeff Bridges was a more appealing job than this movie.
Then, after Charlie Hunnam backed out, citing some bullshit excuse about his Sons of Anarchy television schedule (which the studio must have been aware of when they initially hired him), they finally settled for the guy who played the sheriff on one season of Once Upon a Time, because signing up for a prospective trilogy about a magically rich piece of Wonder bread with the physique of a Greek statue is a smart move for an actor whose primary talent is his ability to appear shirtless on screen.
It's Confusing an Abusive Relationship With Bondage
Christian Grey is a "cold-hearted predator with a dungeon filled with toys," and it's heavily implied that his predilection for bondage sex is a result of a mental disorder. If you don't realize why that's a weird logline for a romantic drama being released on Valentine's Day, that same sentence could have been used to describe the titular character in Dexter. Fifty Shades of Grey preserves the long-held misconception that people who enjoy BDSM are mentally unstable in some way, which is simply not true.
The people that actually paid for this book, on the other hand ...
Most real people who enjoy S&M are mentally healthy, and they tend to ease newcomers into things, rather than traumatize them with blowtorches and electric nipple clamps. Grey messes up the most basic of bondage rules: Cable ties are a bad idea. Even the most novice members of the S&M community know not to use cables, because they can cut or bruise easily -- they use silk rope (with knots crafted by an expert boy scout, obviously). An analysis of the book revealed that the story is less about a kinky sexual relationship and more about domestic abuse, with Anastasia exhibiting classic symptoms of a person trapped in an abusive relationship. We can't imagine that's going to be a movie you want to sit and eat popcorn to.
It's Going to Water Down All the Sex
If The Dark Knight Rises made you say, "There's strangely little Batman in this Batman movie," Fifty Shades of Grey is going to absolutely stun people with how little of the novel's raunchy sex scenes made it into the film. Whereas the characters in the story smash their pelvises together as if the resulting friction will save them from the next ice age, the movie is only going to show a small fraction of that to secure a commercially viable R rating. When asked on Access Hollywood why they decided to go with "just an R," the movie's executive producer responded, "Yeah, yeah. But it's sexy and hot, so ..."
"Honestly, it should be G for 'Game of Thrones will show more.'"
The last time Hollywood promised us a "sexy and hot" R-rated love scene, we got to watch Halle Berry have weepy sex with Billy Bob Thornton while a parakeet tried desperately to escape the scene. Basically, any and all sense of sexual liberation this book outlined for people will be replaced by the standard "naked butts thrusting together in amber lighting" the film industry is used to, only this time there will be handcuffs and blindfolds.
It'll be 90 minutes of this shot and grunting noises.
Despite the fact that the only reason people cared about this series in the first place was because of the graphic sexual content, the producers of Fifty Shades of Grey are insisting that what really got everyone's attention was the boring, hackneyed love story that served as the excuse for all the trussed-up boner jams. This is going to be the Hindenburg of date movies, which almost makes it worth the price of a ticket.