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Book Club

The next chapter is always best

In an industry that defines “mature audiences” as anyone old enough to vote, a movie centered entirely on women over 65 — a sex comedy, no less — feels like some kind of small Hollywood miracle. Book Club probably won’t go down as a career highlight for any of its stars; there are way too many Oscars and Emmys between them to pretend otherwise. But even a surfeit of boner jokes and Barbra Streisand-style Vaseline on the lens can’t ruin the novelty of watching four of the best actresses of their generation splash around in a film that actually lets them live, not just tastefully fossilize in some designated elder-citizen corner of the screen.

The monthly meetup of the title is mostly an easy device to bring its four wildly different protagonists together: flinty federal judge Sharon (Candice Bergen), a confirmed cat-and-chardonnay divorcée; skittish widow Diane (Diane Keaton), devoted to her two grown daughters; bubbly chef Carol (Mary Steenburgen), desperate to reignite the spark with her taciturn husband (Craig T. Nelson); and winky libertine Vivian (Jane Fonda), a cherry-haired hotelier who devours men like pillow mints.

Vivian’s the one, not surprisingly, who brings in Fifty Shades of Grey for the next group read — tapping E L James’ lead-foot prose and light bondage to steer the ladies toward their own sensual reawakenings. And so begins the vagina-and-Viagra punchline jamboree, some jokes tired (can a sad housecat ever not be a metaphor?) and some surprisingly sharp (a pretty great Werner Herzog nod). That’s also where the cavalcade of hopeful suitors and conflicted exes — Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Richard Dreyfuss, and Ed Begley Jr. among them — come in, but they’re mostly just there to look handsome, awed, or bewildered. At heart Book Club is strictly a girls’ club: salty and silly and still crazy, after all these years.

Grade: B

Courtesy: Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

Showtimes: 

No screenings currently scheduled.

Directed by: 
Bill Holderman
Running Time: 
105
Country(ies): 
U.S.A.
Year: 
2018
Language: 
English
Starring: 
Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy Garcia, Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson, Alicia Silverstone, Richard Dreyfuss
Screenplay by: 
Bill Holderman, Erin Simms
Rated: 
PG

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