Fifty Shades Freed – 2018

Director James Foley
Screenplay Niall Leonard
Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Jennifer Ehle, Arielle Kebbel, Marcia Gay Harden

At this point, we’re just spinning our wheels, right? Anastasia Steele, now Grey, is wandering through the life of her husband, Christian. He brought her in as a plaything, realized she is more than that. He then made her his wife.

Now that she’s the subject of stalking, he expects that she’ll just come along with him and the hired help. She insists, quite stupidly, on being her own woman. Of course this is so she can present herself to even more danger.

In between, these two newlyweds spend much of their time shagging like nimble minxes. They bring other couples with them on occasion to exotic locales. Their sole purpose to be a sort window dressing to their love.

At one point, when they have a late night tryst on a kitchen table. My wife, ever the practical woman, says:

“I hope they clean that table off before breakfast.”

The chemistry, or lack there of, between Ana (Johnson) and Christian (Dornan) is debatable. My fifteen year old, who’s never viewed even one scene of the series, tells me that it’s obvious. My wife agrees with her. All I see is two people speaking in hushed tones and wandering off every two hours and destroying the furniture.

The plot has the bare minimum of sense. Whatever it takes to put a little soap opera danger into Christian and Ana’s time they spend outside of one another’s orifices will do to make us feel like they’re going…somewhere. They are not.

When they’re not working the conjugal railroad, they are showing they haven’t had even the most basic conversations that couples might have had on even a second date. Things that most people talk about in casual conversation hit these two like a third act surprise.

Foley is not as much the director of such classics of Glengarry Glen Ross. He’s not even the same level as the guy who directed At Close Range. I would settle for The Corruptor at this point. He is very much at the level of Who’s that Girl, though.

What seemed like a journey with potential at first avoided deeper questions beyond the first film and settled into an us and them routine. There is little to go on here. Someone is after revenge and money and who they wrap up in the plot is of little consequence to the end result.

It’s hard to enjoy it as more than what it is, which appears to be a type of fantasy for  married folks who want to pretend there is a little room for excitement in their lives. Just not too much excitement.

(** out of *****)

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