Fifty Shades Of Black
Open Road Films
Rated R for crude sexuality, graphic nudity, ethnic slurs, coarse humor, rape and pervasive profanity
Marlon Wayans Spoofs Romance Genre In Shocking Parody Of Salacious S&M Adventure
Ever since Scary Movie (2000), Marlon Wayans has carved out quite a career for himself writing and starring in a string of silly spoofs that includes Scary Movie 2 (2001), Dance Flick (2009), A Haunted House (2013), and A Haunted House 2 (2014). The latest offering in his cottage industry of genre-bending parodies is Fifty Shades Of Black, a jaw-dropping lampoon of the already outrageous Fifty Shades Of Black.
Released just a year ago, Fifty Shades Of Black was based on the best-selling erotic novel by E.L. James. That explicit adventure chronicled the sadomasochistic sexploits shared by a handsome billionaire and an impressionable, young college student.
This relatively-kinky variation on the theme remains fairly faithful to the source material’s basic plotline, so it helps immeasurably if you’ve seen the original. The major difference, however, is that the two leads are African-American, and much of the humor revolves around graphic nudity and stale racial stereotypes.
At the point of departure, we’re introduced to Hannah (Kali Hawk), a Literature major at mythical Howell University. Since her promiscuous, foul-mouthed roommate, Kateesha (Jenny Zigrino), has a crippling case of Chlamydia, Hannah finds herself recruited as a stand-in to interview filthy-rich Christian Black (Wayans).
She asks, “How did you get your money and can I have some?” His answer: “Drug dealing, like most successful blacks.” And, “Is you gay?” is met with, “You’re only gay if you enjoy touching penises.”
After that dubious exchange, Christian tricks the naive virgin into unprotected intercourse despite the fact that she’s ovulating. That disturbing date rape scene is a little hard to laugh at, especially in light of the recent Bill Cosby revelations.
Furthermore, when Hannah ends up pregnant, she takes him home to meet her misogynistic stepfather, Ron (Mike Epps). Instead of protecting his daughter’s honor, he sides with Christian’s refusal to marry her, saying, “I like this N-word,” before denigrating Hannah’s mother as a slut.
In other skits, Christian waterboards Hannah (while shouting “Where’s bin Laden?”), delivers an insulting commencement address at Howell (“Thank God, I’m not you!”) and tosses his poop-filled underwear in the face of a screaming fan during a gross homage to Magic Mike. Still, the movie’s most tasteless moments arrive on those occasions when Christian gratuitously exposes his genitalia.
A descent into depravity far more shocking than funny that’s morally-objectionable in part for all.
Fair (1 star)
Running time: 92 minutes
Father And Warrior Protect Baby Monster In Medieval Martial Arts Mash-Up
Directed by Raman Hui (Shrek The Third), Monster Hunt was released across Asia last summer where it became the highest-grossing Chinese film of all time. The version I watched was dubbed into English, which served to turn the martial arts/comedy mash-up into a decidedly campy affair.
The experience reminded me of the Japanese horror flicks from the ’50s where the corny dialogue invariably failed to fit the movement of the actors’ mouths. This one even has its characters often speaking in inappropriately-modern idioms such as, “You are such a loser!” Purists might be happy to know that the movie is also being made available with subtitles, though I suspect it’s far funnier lip-synched.
Set during an ancient dynasty, the picture features an unapologetically exuberant mix of sentiment and slaps/tick that endeavors to tug at your heartstrings while simultaneously tickling your funny bone. The CGI-driven, costume fantasy unfolds in a mythical kingdom inhabited by both humans and monsters.
The plot thickens when the hamlet’s male mayor, Tianyin (Jing Boran), is miraculously impregnated by a malevolent Monster Queen. Next thing you know, just about everybody around, human and monster alike, wants half-breed baby Wooba dead, much to the chagrin of the glowing, expecting daddy.
Lucky for Tianyin, he forges a fast friendship with Hua Xiaolan (Bai Baihe), a female warrior blessed with a winning combination of maternal instincts and mad karate skills. She’s determined to save the radish-shaped bundle of joy, so what ensues is an overstimulating kitchen sink adventure throwing everything up on the screen from cartoon physics fight scenes to Bollywood-style song-and-dance numbers.
Kid-friendly fare amusing enough to entertain adults, too, provided their brains are on pause!
Very Good (2.5 stars)
Dubbed or in Mandarin with subtitles
Running time: 104 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening February 5, 2016
Hail, Caesar! (PG-13 for sensuality, smoking, violence and mild epithets) Day-in-the-life dramedy, directed by the Coen Bros and set in the ’50s, revolving around a Hollywood fixer (Josh Brolin) who comes to the rescue of a matinee idol (George Clooney) kidnapped for ransom in the middle of a film shoot. Ensemble includes Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill and Dolph Lundgren.
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (PG-13 for action, violence and brief sensuality) Mash-up of the horror and romance genres yielding a parody of the Jane Austen classic in which a headstrong heroine (Lily James) finds herself being courted by an aristocrat (Sam Neill) raised from the dead during a zombie outbreak. With Jack Huston, Lena Headey and Douglas Booth.
4th Man Out (Unrated) Out-of-the-closet dramedy, set in upstate New York, about a small-town auto mechanic (Evan Todd) who surprises his straight buddies by announcing he’s gay on his 24th birthday. With Parker Young, Chord Overstreet and Jon Gabrus.
The Choice (PG-13 for sexuality and mature themes) Adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks best seller of the same name about the love which unexpectedly blossoms between a confirmed bachelor (Benjamin Walker) and the marriage-minded med student (Teresa Palmer) who moves in next-door. Cast includes Alexandra Daddario, Maggie Grace and Tom Wilkinson.
The Club (Unrated) Skeletons-in-the-closet drama set in a secluded house along the Chilean seacoast where defrocked Catholic clergymen are sent to repent for their crimes against innocent children. Co-starring Alfredo Castro, Roberto Farias and Antonia Zegers. (In Spanish with subtitles)
Misconduct (R for profanity, violence, sexuality and nudity) Suspense drama about an ambitious young attorney (Josh Duhamel) caught in a deadly power struggle between his law firm’s senior partner (Al Pacino) and a corrupt pharmaceutical executive (Anthony Hopkins). With Malin Akerman, Julia Stiles and Alice Eve.
Rams (R for profanity and brief graphic nudity) Sibling rivalry drama about a couple of long-estranged brothers (Sigurour Sigurjonsson and Theodor Juliusson) who grudgingly bury the hatchet to save their sheep from a plague decimating their flocks. Supporting cast includes Charlotte Boving, Jon Benonysson and Gunnar Jonsson. (In Icelandic with subtitles)
Regression (R for profanity, graphic violence and disturbing sexuality) Crime thriller, set in Minnesota in 1990, about a detective (Ethan Hawke) investigating claims of rape belatedly being leveled against a father (David Dencik) with no memory of molesting his daughter (Emma Watson) when she was 11. Featuiring David Thewlis, Devon Bostick and Aaron Ashmore.