Book Club

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Book Club
"The boxes are ticked, the buttons pressed. You want happy endings? You got 'em." | Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon/Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved

If the Brits can do it with a double booking at the Marigold Hotel the mature ladies of Hollywood can match 'em all the way with Book Club.

Did someone actually say that? Probably, because this is the product of the new empowered Me & You & Everyone Too movement that says you don't have to be braless and 20something to be bankable these days. With names like Steenburgen, Keaton, Fonda and Bergen there's a different strapline above the title: Old Is Gold.

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The plot, or rather plots, or rather splodges of story that pass for a script is wafer thin. Rom-coms have no age limit. All you need are faces that fit and reputations that carry mementos of youthful desire.

The tweets on these streets have a cynical texture. Men? You can't live with them and you can't...

"I don't sleep with people I like," Vivian (Jane F) says. "I gave that up in the Nineties."

"I haven't had sex since I got divorced," Sharon (Candice B) says. "The happiest 18 years of my life."

Carol (Mary S) has a husband (Craig T Nelson) who prefers his motor bike to a half hour of filtered fruitfulness with her and Diane (Diane K) has two grown up daughters who think they know what she needs - a granny flat in one of their basements outside California - when she has met an unshaven airline pilot (Andy Garcia) who jellies her melts like noone ever did.

These ladies are L.A born and bred and have been friends since high school. Now they are successful, rich and drink a lot of white wine. The only novels they read are 50 Shades Of Grey X 3, which means Book Club is about sex not the art of French cooking. Naturally you don't believe in their characters. You think, how can Jane Fonda look so good at 80? Why is Diane Keaton still playing Annie Hall and getting away with it? Is Candice Bergen the only one who has let time remodel her in a grandmumsy cuddle up way? Has Mary Steenburgen grown more relaxed and youthful because she's married to Ted Danson in real life?

The boxes are ticked, the buttons pressed. You want happy endings? You got 'em. Forget about cliches. There are too many to count. When you are dealing with screen legends stop wondering where Susan Sarandon fits in (she doesn't) and why it feels like fun having Don Johnson back from the Eighties playing a charm rabbit to Fonda's foxy rider.

Let's not beat around Anastasia Steele. The film is froth. But the ladies lighten your darkness so much better than Christian Grey.

Reviewed on: 31 May 2018
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These ladies get hot and hotter reading 50 Shades Of Grey. They are mature enough to behave better, but, of course, don't.

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