SOMEBODY HAD TO WRITE about Fifty Shades of Grey for the Portland Mercury, and I drew the short whip. Here we go.
The short review: I did not like Fifty Shades of Grey very much.
The even shorter review: DADDY ISSUES.
The actual review: Oof. Where to begin?
As everybody in the universe knows, Fifty Shades of Grey is the first book in a phenomenally successful trilogy of smut-lite that started as Twilight fanfic before soaring to popularity on the moistened panties of middle American soccer moms. Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is a hot young Seattle billionaire; Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is a mouse trapped in the body of a virginal college student. While these two seem poorly matched, they still want to fuck, because attractive people like to fuck each other. But then Christian complicates things by asking li'l Anastasia to sign away all of her rights to protest getting flogged.
Anastasia is understandably hesitant to sign over her body autonomy, and while Christian plays like he's only into it if she's a willing partner, he then repeatedly pressures her, belittles her, and calls her closed-minded when she's like, "Ummm... maybe no anal fisting?" It's your classic boy-meets-girl, boy-spanks-girl, boy-disrespects-girl's-needs tale. Call me crazy, but I don't find manipulation and power imbalance all that sexy.
As a matter of fact, not a lot about Fifty Shades of Grey is all that sexy. Christian and Anastasia talk about their goddamn dom/sub contract forever. (Imagine a really tedious and unproductive business meeting, but you're gagged and blindfolded.) And everything you've heard about the painful lack of chemistry between Dornan and Johnson is accurate: While Johnson's Anastasia seems like a borderline human (albeit an annoying one), Dornan's Christian is like the little brother of American Psycho's Patrick Bateman who didn't get any of the charm. Or wait! He's like Mark Wahlberg in the first half of Fear—when he could murder, but hasn't yet. The guy has so many red flags shooting from his face that you wouldn't want to make out with him, let alone become his sex slave. Is this really the most desirable hunk of man they could've put on screen? This is what they think is going to do it for us? Come on. He never smiles, he doesn't want to let her get drunk, and for all we know he doesn't even have a TV. Blech.
I saw this film in a packed theater and thought about bringing a tarp, Gallagher-style, for how wet it was about to get, but no: You can't watch Johnson bite her lip and arch her back while stern-faced Dornan drags a peacock feather over her thighs in a dark room filled with strangers and feel turned on. If you have to reposition your pants during the film, you're weird.
Miscellaneous complaints section:
1) At the start of the movie, Anastasia lives in Portland, and we see a piece of mail listing her apartment address as 598 N Lombard, Portland, OR 97216. Wrong zip code, idiots! Plus, that area is all houses, not apartments! Idiots!
2) Anastasia apparently attends a prestigious liberal arts college located in the learned Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington. LOL.
3) In downtown Seattle, Anastasia can always find parking right in front of whatever building she wants without having to circle for two hours. Of all of the unrealistic nonsense in this movie, this bugged me the most.
4) Someone brought a baby to the screening. And it cried. Ten points from humanity.
If you want to get your jollies off this Valentine's Day, I'd recommend watching porn on the internet and applying the $9 movie ticket price to Amazon's clearance vibrator section. It will be much more satisfying.