Draw we now the curtain upon the insipid, kinky romance novel blockbusters of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
No more breathless lip-bites of orgasmic shock from the mousy-voiced beauty Dakota Johnson, as the improbably-named Anastasia Steel. No more hunky Jamie Dornan perma-stubble, as by now his Christian Grey is refusing a clean shave even on his wedding day.
Perhaps with “Fifty Shades Freed” we’ve seen the last of the female wish-fulfillment fantasy, a smart young woman being dominated by an S & M craving billionaire whose private jet, unlimited shopping budget, assorted yachts and many swank townhouses, chalets and farms are the secret to his real sex appeal. One can hope.
The couple that handcuffs together stays together in this finale, with Dornan’s Grey marrying Anastasia, who’s a little reluctant to show off a new last name at the publishing house where she’s jumped from flunky to fiction editor, entirely thanks to the guy who ties her up in “The Red Room.”
Tellingly, the self-written vows conclude with the un-PC pronunciation, “I now pronounce you MAN and wife…”
There’s jealousy, danger from the old nemesis Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), intrigue and sex. Six or seven not-that-inventive couplings, depending on how you count them.
And Audi product placement. All the movies about the limitless rich skip right to German automotive ostentation, whenever possible.
There’s a kidnapping and another one foiled, with a kidnapper subdued by the bodyguards that are now part of Anastasia’s daily routine. They have no “restraints” to hold him until the cops arrive.
“We um, have some,” the bride confesses.
At least this time, some of the laughs are intentional.
These movies have all been slick, with the sheen of high-tone porn about them, which partly explains why the middle aged (and younger) of middle America have flocked to them. James Foley, who sexualized Reese Witherspoon in “Fear” way back in the last millennium, has no new tricks up his sleeve.
Thus, more sex scenes, only slightly more titillating than those that preceded it.
The soap suds bubble through clearer than ever, the laughably melodramatic twists in the plot, the car chase, the conspicuous consumption of E.L. James’s novels — who knew “If you write it, you will eventually own it, when the public eats this soft-core swill up. ”
Arielle Kebbel of “John Tucker Must Die” is practically the sole new addition to this soap opera, as a flirtatious architect who must be taught her place by the new Mrs. Grey.
Dornan trots out a passable “Maybe I’m Amazed” at the piano.
And there’s sex in the Red Room, sex in an Audi, sex on a kitchen counter and threats of sex on the plane, in the shower, etc.
All to be devoured by the devoted fans of the series. Yes, their daddies used to “read” Playboy — for the fiction. So they said. And that’s what the ladies are here for, right? “The story?”
God, I hope not.
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, and language
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Arielle Kebbel, Eric Johnson, Marcia Gay Harden
Running time: 1:42