February 18, 2019

'Fifty Shades Freed' still less of a partnership than a power struggle

10 February 2018, 10:27 | Regina Holmes

There is good trash and there is bad trash and then there is classic trash

There is good trash and there is bad trash and then there is classic trash

I heard a woman next to me at the screening say she was a little sad there wasn't more of the wedding shown and, as with the "Twilight" films, everyone wants to see more of the handsome dress.

Following their engagement in the last flick, Anastasia (Dakota Johnson, "How to Be Single") and Christian (Jamie Dornan, The Fall) tie the knot, hop on a private jet, and head off to a lavish honeymoon vacation. With even more sex scenes than in the previous two movies, they really pulled out all the stops this time.

In addition to teaching her co-star a few things, Johnson told ET's Cameron Mathison it takes "serious psychological preparation" on her part to get into the right mindspace for a Fifty Shades sex scene. Christian's "highly-skilled" security team are so weak-ass at their jobs that they can't make the connection either.

Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty compared the film to 1990's erotic thrillers and says that Fifty Shades Freed is even worse because it is pretentious.

Yet according to The Wrap's Anna Hartley, "the sex scenes feel more like an afterthought, inserted to remind us of the reason the series became such a phenomenon".

'Fifty Shades Freed' still less of a partnership than a power struggle
'Fifty Shades Freed' still less of a partnership than a power struggle

A kidnap plot involving co-star Rita Ora is thrown into the mix, along with a heart pounding auto chase with Steele behind the wheel of Mr Grey's Audi muscle vehicle.

This is where my eye-rolling began, because how realistic is it that Ana wouldn't have had that particular conversation before now with the control freak she was planning on spending the rest of her life with?

The first film, Fifty Shades of Grey, opened to $85.1 million domestic debut in February 2015. Kudos to the makeup department for the strung-out look that they applied to the character, which helped to show just how far he has fallen. The legendary tension between the protagonists had dissipated in this film to a mild niggling over Ana keeping her surname for work purposes, and her getting annoyed because Christian confided in his Mrs Robinson-type former lover. "Baby I'm amazed at the way you love me all the time/ Maybe I'm afraid of the way I love you/ Baby, I'm amazed at the way you pulled me out of time", he sings. However, his repeated insistences eventually convince her to change her name to "Mrs".

Which might have been fine had the cinematic Fifty Shades been remotely titillating. "Grey", with an obliging smile.

Directed by Will Gluck, best known for the early Emma Stone film Easy A, Peter Rabbit features the mischievous titular rabbit (voiced by James Corden) leading a group of animals of various species (voiced by the likes of Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, and Elizabeth Debicki). At one topless beach, Ana wants to join the other women without tops, but Christian won't allow it. Rated R. 105 minutes. It's a demand that rings as hollow as Christian's never-ending appeals.

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