Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenbergen, Andy Garcia, Richard Dreyfuss, Don Johnson and not to forget Mr Incredible himself Craig T. Nelson. You could mistakenly think such an impressive line up of veteran tinsel towners had been assembled for The Godfather Part 4 rather the senior citizen friendly chic flick Book Club. Four lifelong friends have their lives turned upside down when they introduce 50 Shades of Grey to their monthly book club - what could possibly go wrong?
Book Club is cheeky and self aware enough to realise exactly what it is, a white wine laced comedy that oozes 50 shades of Grandma. Making his directorial debut, Bill Holderman has worked with Robert Redford in the past and his experience is evident as these four A list ladies seem to be having just as much fun as the audience is having watching them. It may not be the big break he had hoped for, nonetheless Book Club's playful innuendo over the lipstick stained wine glasses style signifies how well it hits the demographic it's going for.
Against the expectations sown by the trailers Book Club is rarely vulgar or smutty. It's easy to prejudge this film especially when you're way out of the target audience - however credit where credit is due, the script is rather well written. It seems most of the jokes delivered from Book Club's conveyor belt structure pack a of their own punch, and whilst themed around the same sexual quips the script is above the lazy, run of the mill level other less accomplished comedy films can be notorious for. Some of the best gags are centred around Candice Bergen's character attempting online dating, this warm innocent, idea of mature women putting themselves back out there in the dating world is what enables Book Club to have a sweet and sugary centre to balance what appears a raunchy surface.
For most though, Book Club is primarily about the star power. If there are any actors who have earned the right to shelve their oscars and have some fun it's these golden girls. Four decades after winning her first Oscar Fonda gives a masterclass in comic acting, proving that with talent you really can make the most of everything. Keaton never loses her touch, Bergen still holds that charming spark, and together their chemistry is so strong that everyone will want a membership of their club.
Cheap, cheerful and especially cheesy - Book Club makes full use of its magnificent cast in a film that is surprisingly well realised. There is the fair share of hand over mouth giggling moments - most notably where Steenbergen tries to spice things up by placing viagra in her husband's beer in a bar - but that's just about as far as it goes. It may be as safe as Prosecco and a bowl of ready slated pringles, however Book Club is a hilarious nod to the older generation.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.