BOOK CLUB Review — Scintillating After 60

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BOOK CLUB Review by Lisa Johnson Mandell

Book Club ReviewWhat could be more welcome than a smart, funny and fabulous feature about smart, funny and fabulous women? There are no epic battles, no masks or capes, no nods to the prequel that you didn’t see, no strident political messages — basically nothing to make you feel guilty, exhausted or passe. Book Club is just the movie we need for relief from uncomfortable box office bloat.

The premise is simple: a close knit group of successful women, all over 60, have hit a lull in their selected group readings, when Jane Fonda’s character Vivian, an unmarried luxury hotel owner (hello Beverly Hills Montage) decides to spice things up by suggesting they read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.

I was a bit worried that it would become cliche from here — after all, those books are so mind-numbingly terrible, I thought I’d lose respect for the characters and the screenwriters (Erin Simms and Bill Holderman) if they actually read and discussed them. Then I remembered, “Hey! I actually read and discussed them.” I had my reasons, and so do they.

The Fifty Shades books are merely a jumping off platform to involve us in the social, romantic and family foibles of remarkable women played by Fonda, Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton and Mary Steenburgen. The men in their lives are played by Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia (never more charming), Wallace Shawn, Don Johnson, Ed Begley, Jr. and Richard Dreyfuss.

Rookie director Bill Holderman, who has written and produced films for some of the greatest actors of our time, seems to have a knack for getting out of the way and letting the pros do what they do best. Everyone seems to be having a great deal of fun,.

Contrary to what some pundits are saying about the film having for millennials, Book Club has appeal for anyone who ever had a mom. Although the cast tips rather heavily toward the upper class white side, everyone we see on the big screen doesn’t have to be exactly like us to be entertaining.

See it with a group of besties after an effervescent cocktail or two, it’s the perfect Girls’ Night Out fare, no matter what your age. And I do hope you see it. I hope it does well. I think Hollywood needs to make more of these types of films, and hearty box office numbers should nudge the Suits in that direction.

1 Hour 44 Minutes

Rated PG13

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BOOK CLUB Review — Scintillating After 60

by Lisa Johnson Mandell

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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