Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Film: 'Book Club'

Well, at least I gave it a chance!
My interest in this had been hovering between near-moderate and minimal anyway, but in the course of its hour and three-quarters it was seriously flagging several times. 
The novelty that carries it is, of course, the chance of seeing four, now veteran, actresses, on screen together in ensemble - Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen. The pretext is their having organised a book club just amongst themselves, and the chosen reading for the purposes of this film is E.L.James' 2011 novel 'Fifty Shades of Grey' - a book apparently so erotic (pah!) that it'll spice up the lives of these four ladies and get them panting for sex in next to no time. No matter if there's no man in their lives at present, they'll want to search one out and bed him. Anyone who reads extensively and has read this 'oeuvre' of Ms James will be as aghast as I was that it could in any way be considered as the catalyst that gets anyone rooting for sexual fulfilment more than any other book available. Anyway, one has to accept it as a conceit on which this film depends - that book getting little more than a very few mentions anyway.

The men involved are Andy Garcia, Craig T. Nelson and Ed Begley Jr, with cameo appearances from Richard Dreyfuss and a disappointingly short one from Wallace Shawn, whose rare on-screen appearances are all exceedingly welcome for me.

We see the women together discussing their respective situations, Candice Bergen being the one most actively searching for a date, whilst the others have either just met a man or is already 'involved' (in a sense, in one case).

It's a gentle 'comedy' (I use the word advisedly), intending to be personable and fluffy - and it just about qualifies as both of these - yet I know I'm going to find it supremely forgettable.
There are moments which are supposed to be ones of high hilarity, and some of the audience I was with thought they were, but I was, for the most part, left unmoved. Even the Viagra episode, which some members of the audience thought was the funniest thing ever put on screen, raised no more than the merest ghost of a smile with me.

It seems to be director (and co-writer) Bill Holderman's first feature-length film. So he's cut his teeth on this one. Let's see what else he can do.

I'd say that this is a film to watch only if you've got nothing better on, though I'm aware that there are some who'd rate it considerably higher than that. It's surely pleasant enough, though only just, but I'd find it hard to think that it would set most people's interest alight, which is also what most of the reviews I've seen opine........4.

(IMDb........6.3 / Rotten Tomatoes.........5.2)




10 comments:

  1. Exactly as I told you. A lighthearted film not requiring any thinking, just a bit of entertainment. It succeeded in that. I didn't laugh out loud at any of it, just took it all in quietly, and could relate to it and even more if my old school friends had been there with me. We would have enjoyed the afternoon out together. Instead of that I watched it quietly alone, and passed the time.

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    1. And time is something I have a lot of. I did the same again today and saw such another film but it was less well done than The Book Club. Edie with Sheila Hancock, entertaining but disappointing.

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    2. Yes, I was thinking of you as I wrote the above, though I was sure you wouldn't take it amiss if I disagreed with you about it - and why, indeed, should you, or anyone?

      'Edie' is on my list for next week, but once again it's had hardly any really positive reviews, this time with you following that line. I'll still see it, though. I like Sheila H., even if I hadn't seen her on stage a couple of times, and she is getting on now, this possibly being her final film, but I do hope not.

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    3. There was nothing I disagreed with Ray. It may have sounded a little harsh to say "if you have nothing better to do" but indeed you are right. I had nothing better to do.

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  2. It looks "cute"as in, I'm sick one Saturday afternoon and it's on TV and I can't find the remote.
    Not cute enough to shell out dollars to see.

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    1. It's so obviously a vehicle for 'older' female stars, Bob - nothing wrong with that, one might justifiably say - that it loses sight of making it interesting enough to hold ones (okay, MY) attention, and goes to absurd lengths to give it some 'oomph' - and it just doesn't work. As you imply, one to watch on TV in bed, with the potential of sending you to sleep.

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  3. Hi Ray, back to reading your reviews after a too long absence. I'm in the process of catching up now. This film is one I will probably see via my Netflix queue despite the fact that you gave it a lukewarm review. I like all the actresses and the story line, older women trying to get it on again. I couldn't care less about the book "Fifty Shades of Gray", having experienced the real thing myself many years ago. I do find it interesting how the straights so often co-op gay lifestyle themes though (S&M and bondage). I love older actresses and cameos by has been male stars.
    Ron

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    1. From what you say this is likely to suit you down to the ground, Ron. You may well enjoy those many same moments when I was sighing with exasperation, which could only mean that you're better tuned in to the level it's aimed at. It really is one of those 'put your feet on a pouffe and just let it wash over you' films, and as that's what you're after, fine. Maybe I over-analyze when I should just suspend my critical faculties.

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  4. I love Candice, but not enough to see this. Maybe when it hits cable. Maybe!

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    1. It must be her 'biggest' film part for some considerable time, B., even if it's only a share, yet it is a bit different to the other three quartet members. I doubt, though, if it's enough to justify going out of one's way to catch this. You wouldn't lose much by watching it on TV.

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