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50 shades of clichéd: Review of Book Club by Rashid Irani

Four veterans together for the first time — Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen — should have been a delight. A lazy, tacky story spoils the plot.

movie reviews Updated: May 25, 2018 21:42 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Book Club,Book Club review,Review of Book Club
The four women meet regularly for an informal book club. There’s a rebel with an old flame, a recent widow with a much younger man, a frustrated housewife and a divorcee dating online. The whole thing is painfully banal and predictable.
BOOK CLUB
  • Direction: Bill Holderman
  • Actors: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda
  • Rating: 1 / 5

Sparks were expected to fly as four veteran actresses got together for the first time in their careers. Unfortunately, even Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen (the only one of the four leading ladies to have not snagged an Oscar as yet) can’t inject much life into this flaccid account of septuagenarians trying to spice up their sex lives.

The women are lifelong friends who meet once a month in an informal book club that’s more an excuse to guzzle wine and discuss raunchy bestsellers like Fifty Shades of Grey.

The storyline is replete with clichés and contrivances. A free-spirited singleton (Fonda) is de facto leader of the group; she chances upon an old flame (Don Johnson, dapper as ever) 40 years after a no-strings-attached dalliance.

Debutant director Bill Holderman keeps the narrative plodding along, but joylessly. The script pays lip service to issues of ageism and sexism but does little to change the narrative.

Her recently widowed pal (Keaton) meets cute with a wealthy airline pilot (Andy Garcia), much to the consternation of her two grown daughters. A frustrated housewife (Steenburgen) laces her husband’s beer with Viagra in the hopes of rekindling his beneath-the-sheets mojo.

A divorced federal judge (a pitch-perfect Bergen) finds an unlikely soulmate (an almost unrecognisable Richard Dreyfuss) via an online dating service.

Debutant director Bill Holderman keeps the narrative plodding along, but joylessly. The script pays lip service to issues of ageism and sexism but does little to change the narrative.

Despite the earnest efforts of its iconic ensemble cast, Book Club is unimpressive.

First Published: May 25, 2018 21:42 IST