HOLLYWOOD’S LEGENDS WRITE ANOTHER CHAPTER
“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.