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October 21st, 2017

Max’s View

50 Shades of Grey
*1/2

Last weekend, I took my girlfriend out to a Valentine’s Day dinner and then got up early on Sunday morning and went with her to see a matinee of “50 Shades of Grey”ÉÉ

Thanks for waiting. Now that I’m back from receiving the award for Best Boyfriend of the Year, I can tell you how I feel about the movie. It is pretty darn bad.

“50 Shades of Grey” is trying to be a “Twilight”-esque love story and a boundary-pushing sex movie. It fails at both tasks.

The film defies believability at every turn. We are supposed to believe that Anastasia Steele is a 25-year-old virgin. But the character – as played by Dakota Johnson – is beautiful and confident and not the least bit reticent or religious. It doesn’t make sense.

We are supposed to believe that Anastasia is about to receive a Masters Degree in English Lit. But the character never talks about literature. Indeed, she doesn’t pick up a book for the entire movie, in-cluding when she is alone on an airplane.

Anastasia’s love interest is even more preposterous. Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is little more than a romance-novel fantasy. Grey is a super hot 27-year old self-made billionaire. Sounds great, but in the real world, there are exactly zero men who meet that description. If Mark Zuckerberg looked like Jamie Dornan, I guarantee you he would have spent years at Harvard dating cheerleaders instead of inventing Facebook.

Grey clearly likes Anastasia. Anastasia clearly likes Grey. What’s the problem? The only stumbling block to a perfect fairy tale romance is that Grey is a brooding, secretive, possessive jerk. Oh, and he’s also into violent deviant sex.

It isn’t entirely director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s fault that the love scenes in “50 Shades of Grey” are so unengaging and vanilla. I don’t think it is even possible to make a shocking mainstream movie about alternative sex in the United States.

Bland, boring sex scenes are the last remaining legacy of American Puritanism. For nearly 50 years, Hollywood has been showing full frontal nudity. But to this day, they are not allowed to give any in-dication that the body parts have a practical function or purpose.

I truly don’t understand why our society is willing to sacrifice freedom and censor art just to protect 17-year-old girls from learning the facts of life. Would it really be so terrible if your granddaughter Madison learned that sometimes human genitals change size? And would it really destroy the fabric of society if she learned that they expel bodily fluids at least once a month? She probably knows this already.

Well, the Puritans are winning. “50 Shades of Grey” is disappointingly tame. If there were any hot, groundbreaking sex scenes, they got left on the cutting room floor as the studio fought to avoid the dreaded NC-17 rating.

“50 Shades of Grey” is an unbelievable love story and an uninspiring sex story. I don’t think I’m going to watch the sequel, even if it means that I have to give up my Best Boyfriend of the Year trophy.

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