HOL­LY­WOOD’S LEG­ENDS WRITE AN­OTHER CHAP­TER

New York Daily News - - NEWS - Stephen Whitty

“Book Club” wants to be “The Golden Girls.” But it’s mostly brass.

The femme-cen­tric com­edy stars four fun ac­tresses — Diane Keaton, Candice Ber­gen, Mary Steen­bur­gen and Jane Fonda (left to right) — as Cal­i­for­nia women in their late 60s. They share a life­long friend­ship — and wine- and gos­sip-fu­eled book-club ses­sions.

But then Vi­vian (Fonda), the group’s sex­pot, picks their new novel — “50 Shades of Grey.” Cut to close­ups of glee­fully shocked faces as they turn the pages. And cut to them all de­cid­ing to turn over a new page in their love lives.

The film­mak­ers have a good idea for a com­edy here. They just don’t have enough good com­edy here. The stars are all fine. It’s the sup­port­ing parts that are ter­ri­bly writ­ten. Men who are sup­posed to come off as charm­ing seem creepy. Grown daugh­ters meant to be a little over­pro­tec­tive seem con­trol­ling and rude. Jokes about Vi­a­gra over­doses feel stolen from an­other movie.

And even for a ro­man­tic com­edy, the script is tire­somely pre­dictable. Still, it’s a treat to see th­ese ac­tresses, and to watch their con­fi­dence — and their hon­esty. What’s re­ally beau­ti­ful, though, is the four friends’ out­look, re­gard­less of age. They’re not will­ing to stop liv­ing. They’re not will­ing to give up. They’re not will­ing to set­tle.

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