Book Club

Potential cast of Sex and the City 3?
Verdict: 
6/10 - While packed with polished performances, Book Club's plot is much too predictable.
Release Date: 
Friday, June 1, 2018
Written by: 

Book Club follows four friends who have their lives forever changed after they read Fifty Shades of Grey in their monthly catch-up.

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Over the past few years, there has been plenty of great flicks released with the female viewer in mind.

Films like Bridesmaids and Girls Trip have garnered huge international success and even the first Sex and the City movie was a fairly enjoyable, albeit mindless, watch.

However, director Bill Holderman has now reminded viewers that it's not just women in their 20s and 30s who watch chick flicks, as the central cast in his new movie Book Club are all aged over 65.

The film, co-written by Holderman and Erin Simms, follows four friends who meet up every month to discuss literature, with the group including Diane (Diane Keaton), who was recently widowed after 40 years of marriage, federal judge and divorcee Sharon (Candice Bergen), fiercely independent businesswoman Vivian (Jane Fonda) and happily married chef Carol (Mary Steenburgen).

Each woman has hit a turning point in her personal life, and when they seem a little down during one of their regular book club meetings, Vivian insists that they read E.L. James' raunchy novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

While they don't get too caught up in the actual text of the book, it causes the key characters to reassess the state of their own love lives.

During a trip to visit her daughters in Arizona, Diane meets pilot Mitchell (Andy Garcia) and in spite of her initial reluctance, eventually agrees to go on a date with him, Sharon takes the plunge and sets up an online dating account, Vivian has a chance encounter with former flame Arthur (Don Johnson) and Carol, frustrated by the inattention of her newly-retired husband Bruce (Craig T. Nelson), tries to spice up their sex life.

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Though the plot veers on the predictable side, there's a lot of fun to be had along the way, including wine drinking sessions in Nancy Meyers-style kitchens, awkward first dates, accidental selfies, cringe-worthy dance lessons and inevitably, a set sequence featuring a drink spiked with Viagra.

Plus, Holderman attempts to delve into some topical themes, such as ageism, loneliness, female friendships and, of course, sexagenarian romance.

It was also interesting to see two of the women paired off with (slightly) younger men, though Book Club is unlikely to go down in history for its inclusivity, with the whole story centred in white middle-class California.

That said, it's hard not have a smile on your face while watching this movie, with an impeccably-attired Keaton offering up several touching moments, Steenburgen displaying moments of heartbreaking vulnerability and Bergen injecting her part with plenty of humorous touches.

And even in a spiky red wig, somehow Fonda manages to nail every piece of dialogue and steal each scene she's in.

While Book Club doesn't manage to offer up a whole lot of in the way of originality, it certainly makes for some enjoyable light entertainment which is best viewed with some friends and a bottle of rose.

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