We might as well declare this weekend “Fifty Shades of Valentine’s Day.”
Safe word or not, the movie version of E.L. James’ erotic “Fifty Shades of Grey” will dominate the box office. As couples and ladies who brunch flock to theaters this weekend, the rest of you may want to know whether you should bother seeing the movie about the innocent little virgin who falls in love with the big, rich dominant.
I saw it. And it’s the kind of movie I’d watch on cable on a Saturday in my sweatpants while eating ice cream out of the carton, yelling at the television and tweeting. It’s unexpectedly funny and just likable enough for the Lifetime Channel. If Lifetime allowed nudity.
And Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele have more chemistry than they do in the trailers. 2.5 stars out of 4, easy. Bonus: It’s not hard to improve on the book.
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But should you pay to see it in theaters? Here’s what you should know to help you decide whether to submit. We’ll call it “15 Shades of Grey”:
1. This is not “The Notebook.” Don’t expect to feel all romantic and fantasize a Christian and Anastasia kind of love. But you will want Christian Grey’s kind of money.
2. This is not “91/2 Weeks.” It’s more erotic camp than erotic drama.
3. If this feels like “Twilight,” it is; call it homage or rip-off. The books started as Twi-hard fan fiction. It’s like Bella meets Edward and goes all BDSM, minus the vamps and wolves.
4. You don’t need to have read the books to get the movie — but understand the movie is the first of a trilogy.
5. Laugh. Laugh harder. It’s not all whips and chains and sex. Like I said, it’s campy.
6. Get a drink. Eat some popcorn. Everyone was fidgeting at the theater. Keep your hands busy. Fondle your food. I drank an Icee.
7. Brace yourself. If you’ve read the book, let me tell you: The red room of pain is real. And red. And leathery.
8. Tune in. The soundtrack is hotter than the movie: Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Annie Lennox.
9. Don’t believe the haters. Anastasia isn’t all stiff, submissive and unlikable. Dakota Johnson (daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith) isn’t the robot the blogosphere believes her to be. She’s cute and funny, and she stands up for herself.
10. Mouth porn. You know how L.L. Cool J is known for licking his lips? Well, you’re going to see a lot of close-ups of Anastasia biting her lip, touching her lips and well, her lips.
11. The nudity: The shots are artful, but you will see lots of back, butt, boobs and flashes of frontal nudity.
12. Does it deliver the Valentine’s Day sexy? The sizzle starts out strong but fizzles out as the plot — and a seriously uncomfortable moment — get in the way.
13. First date appropriate? Maybe if you met on Tinder.
14. Don’t see it with: your mama, kids, new friends, a bad attitude.
15. See it with: an open mind and a sense of humor. Come on, it’s fifty shades of cray.