Follow eastcountytimes on Twitter

Become a Friend of The East County Times


Click on the paper above to visit our
Digital Edition



Article by Teddy Durgin

Durgin spanks '50 Shades'

Critiquing "Fifty Shades of Grey" is really a no-win situation for me. If I pan it, author E.L. James' fans will think of me as a "prude" and say I probably already had an agenda going into the movie. If I praise it, the thinking on many of your parts will be "So, what kind of kinky stuff are YOU into, Durgin?" The truth? After seeing the flick (I haven't read the book, of course), I'm really not sure what all of the fuss is about. To be honest, I found the whole thing... well... tedious. But believe me, I really did go into the film with an open mind. No, not an open mind about what billionaire bad boy Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and English major good girl Anatasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) do in Grey's "fun room." I just wanted the movie to be an effective example of its genre. I wanted it to be sexy and to titillate me in the same way I want a comedy to make me laugh, a horror flick to make me scared and a documentary to make me think. About an hour into this thing, I was fighting slumber. I'm sorry, fans of "Grey." I just was kind of bored with these two. When they were doing their thing, I found myself more wondering what thread count Mr. Grey's fancy sheets were and if those overhead mood lights were on dimmers and a remote control. We just got those kind of lights for our bedroom in the Durgin house and they're really quite cool. Anyway, as played by Dornan, Christian comes across less as a sexy, brooding object of desire and more as a weird stalker who is curiously isolated from life, considering he is a very young corporate mogul. He comes off as too needy, too soon for Anastasia. He's constantly saying, "I'm not a romantic. I don't do love. I don't have feelings like regular people," and then he does incredibly romantic things like take Ana on helicopter and private plane rides, make her first time something special and intense and agree to go out on one date a week with her. Sure, he then pulls back. But at all times, you can tell he's really just a stunted romantic eager for true love - the stereotype of a playboy needing to be tamed. He also grabs her face a lot, and that's just weird. Johnson fares better as Anastasia. The daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, she clearly has the inherited libido to play characters in such sexy fare. Ana is a woman who has taken the Taylor Swift lyric "Boys only want love if it's torture" a bit too literally. As with so many college students, she is feeling her way in the world. One day she is confident as all hell. The next day, she's vulnerable to even the smallest bit of criticism. Grey preys on that. Johnson does well with what is given to her. This is NOT an easy role to play, because it's not written very well. It's more of a character type than an actual character. But the actress brings something to the table here. Did I want to see her spanked and harmed? No. But the story is the story, so I got as right with it as I could. And, quite honestly, that family deserves a couple of smacks for flicks like "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man," "Shining Through" and that god-awful "Heartbeat" song Don Johnson recorded in '85. There is one legitimately great thing about "Fifty Shades of Grey" and that is this film's soundtrack! There are some sexy tunes woven throughout this film from Annie Lennox's soulful cover of "I Put a Spell on You," to a sultry reimagining of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love," to Frank Sinatra's classic "Witchcraft." If the movie had been half as arousing as closing one's eyes and letting these tunes wash over you, it really would have been something special.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is rated R for strong sexual content, including dialogue, some unusual behavior, graphic nudity and language.


@2008 East County Times. All Rights Reserved

Phone 410-780-3303 Email Reporting Staff [email protected] Email Art Dept. [email protected] Advertising [email protected]