Review / ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ (MA) half a star

YUK! Ergh! And whatever other unpublishable expression of disgust, dislike or disbelief that you may think of.

Novelist EL James has become a millionairess from the three novels comprising the “Fifty Shades” franchise. They record the bedroom cavortings, BDSM predelictions and business careers of Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson). Each book has been filmed, the last two directed by James Foley, whose filmography lists more TV than feature movies. There are movie and book tie-ins. My god, how the money rolls in (sung to the tune of “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean”).

EL James has now published a fourth book telling the same story from Christian’s viewpoint. The money stays in the family purse; her husband Niall Leonard wrote the screenplay for the second and third films.

“Fifty Shades Freed” begins with the wedding of Christian and Anastasia. It ends several years later with a small son, another bun in Anastasia’s oven and the family gambolling on the lawn.

The 100 or so minutes between those book-ends follow Anastasia’s determination to have her own career in publishing, the return of bad guy Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) who’s been dismissed so that Anastasia can move into his office and a pallid acknowledgement by Christian that his bride does have a life of her own, all in an environment of uncountable wealth.

And the juicy bits? The Red Room, wherein Christian keeps the toys necessary for pleasurable bondage, domination, sadism and masochism. Anastasia’s nipples. Anastasia driving an Audi Quattro at speeds that would send any highway patrolman green with disappointment at not being there, so erotically switching her on that she climbs across to the passenger seat where she figuratively rapes Christian in a downtown Seattle parking lot.

Yuk! Ergh! And whatever other unpublishable expression of disgust, dislike or disbelief that you may think of. It’s all too silly to contemplate.

At all cinemas

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