May 18, 2018

BOOK CLUB is in theaters on May 18th, 2018.

Despite a ridiculous premise that feels more at home as an SNL skit, Book Club is a surprisingly warm story packed with empowering themes. Although it isn’t the pinnacle of fine cinema, it is absolutely an easy watch that is sure to entertain.

Book Club features a star-studded cast, with the likes of Diane Keaton, a widow ready to move on after the death of her husband, Jane Fonda, a sexy businesswoman who never felt the need to settle down, Candice Bergen, an empowered judge who had been mostly celibate since her divorce 18 years ago, and Mary Steenburgen, who runs a successful restaurant with her husband who needs to take some of the spice into the bedroom. The four women have been friends for decades, and despite successful and divergent lives, they all find time to meet once a month for book club – which centers more around working through their life’s woes as a tight-knit group of friends for life and supporting one another than around the subject matter of the books they read. But when the book of the month is Fifty Shades of Grey, the women find themselves engulfed in a sexual reawakening at a late stage in life. Originally appalled by the absurdity of the book, all four women find themselves on separate, individual journeys to discover what sexual empowerment means to each of them.

The premise of Book Club is absurd, but the movie handles it intelligently. There are no chains or whips, no septuagenarian BDSM. Everything surrounding Fifty Shades feels more of an afterthought, a premise meant to spark the women’s journeys rather than one to define them. Book Club understands that its premise is ridiculous, and instead of leaning on it, uses it as the comedic material its meant to be. Instead, Fifty Shades acts as a catalyst for each woman’s sexual and romantic awakening, but for each woman it means something completely different. We get four parallel stories about mature women empowering themselves, between jumping into a passionate fling, settling down with the one who got away, joining an online dating site, and reconnecting deeply with a husband.

Each woman’s plot is an empowering, showing that a woman should be unafraid of pursuing their desires, no matter their age. It’s about stepping outside of a comfort zone and being unafraid of getting what you want. Book Club alternates between touching and funny, with less emphasis on the humor. Despite its premise, the movie doesn’t reach its full potential by being a laugh from start to finish, but for what it lacks in humor, it makes up for in tender and touching stories. It’s easy to become engaged in each of their stories, and all four women truly do feel like close, supportive friends. Yet it isn’t like the plots are completely unheard of. We’ve seen similar plots from just about every Nancy Meyers film, which this movie could easily pass as, and from several other romantic comedies. But it still handles them adeptly and has its own themes to get across, which avoids making it feel stale.

Overall, fans of rom coms or Nancy Meyers films will find a welcome friend in Book Club. It’s surprisingly funny, features a truly powerful cast, has uplifting themes, and is a generally good time. Although it’s not groundbreaking nor exceptionally hilarious, it’s an easygoing film that is a welcome watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Johnny Johnny (Senior Contributor) was born and raised in San Diego. He's been a fan of films the majority of his life. He enjoys the feeling it invokes and the power it has to take you to another place.
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