GENRE: Erotic romance
THE PITCH: College graduate Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) has a chance encounter with the elusive, young magnate Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Their chemistry is immediate and Steele is drawn into the secret, sadistic world of Mr. Grey. Based on the bestselling novel by E.L. James.
MONEY SHOT: Without revealing too much, the sadism/masochism scenes. Though tastefully done, viewers get a sampling of the fetish, and some of its techniques where blindfolds, crops, cat o nine tails, and suspension cuffs are used.
BEST LINES: Christian surprises Anastasia while she’s at work at a local hardware store. After fulfilling his order she says, “Rope, tape, ties – you’ve got the complete serial killer kit.” Anastasia wakes in Christian’s hotel bed after a drunken binge. She checks herself and asks if they had sex. Christian flatly quips, “Necrophilia is not my thing.”
BEST CLARIFICATION OF SEXUAL INTENT: As the couple engages in a bit of verbal foreplay, Anastasia alludes to her need for romance. Christian stares intently at her and explains, “I don’t make love – I fuck … hard.”
HOW “GREY” ARE YOU? According to a survey conducted by Durex, the condom manufacturer, 36 percent of adults in the United States use masks and bondage tools during sex. However only 10 percent of U.S. adults admit to participating in sadomasochism.
NUMBER OF SUGGESTIVE CLOSE UPS OF JOHNSON’S LIPS: Seven.
NUMBER OF TIMES THE COUPLE ENGAGE IN SEX: Six.
SKIN FACTOR: Sorry ladies, there is no male frontal nudity in this film. However Johnson strips down a considerable amount showing full top frontal, and full back ten times. Dornan’s Grey shows his back side three times.
NUMBER OF SADOMASOCHISTIC ACTS: Six.
BOTTOM LINE: I’m sure the book provides a titillating romance between the novice Anastasia and the dominant Christian but unfortunately this film does not. Writer Kelly Marcel’s screenplay relies too heavily on chemistry between actors’ Johnson and Dornan that just isn’t there. Cobbled with a style-over-substance approach from director Sam Taylor-Johnson and you are left with this boring ‘Bondage 101’ misfire. Considering the source material was originally created as fan fiction based on the Twilight series, maybe the actors and director should have watched a couple of that franchise’s latter films to get some modicum of a challenging romance story.
Fifty Shades of Grey is a confusing, uninteresting, and unsatisfying flick that offers very little to the romance genre and the book its based upon. But if you are curious about delving into the world of sadomasochism, this bland and sexually awkward film may be your ticket.