Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle, Eloise Mumford, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes, and Marcia Gay Harden
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson
Let me just say right off the bat that it unfortunately never hits the level of "so bad, it's good."
It has some of the cheesiest dialog I've heard in a movie in a long time.
It has characters whose arcs I can't feasibly comprehend despite the movie trying to spell it out for me with that aforementioned cheesy dialog, and it has a story that...well, is there a story?
With the exception of one moderately hot scene involving an ice cube, it has some of the unsexiest sex scenes I've seen filmed in a long time including its final S&M-heavy escapade set to Gregorian-like chants.
And yet, somehow, despite this multitude of problems, Fifty Shades of Grey isn't one of the worst movies of 2014. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as, respectively, virginal college student Anastasia and tormented billionaire Christian Grey are surprisingly watchable in the midst of what is quite a bit of dreck. Their attempts at trying to make a connection with one another despite their seriously underwritten characters is a credit to the fresh-faced actors.
Despite my many qualms, the film looks slick. Granted, Sam Taylor-Johnson can't make the sex scenes pop (or perhaps my lack of interest in sadomasochism is to blame), but the film looks sharp thanks in part to the rather lovely cinematography of Seamus McGarvey (who has proven his worth before in films like Anna Karenina and Atonement). Additionally, kudos must be given to the filmmakers for compiling one of the best pop soundtracks for a movie in a long time. Granted, I may not like some of the singles (that are still getting rampant airplay on the radio months later) outside of the context of the movie, but within the confines of the film, they're perfect matches for the visuals onscreen. You'd be surprised what a kick-ass soundtrack can do to elevate a film and, quite frankly, I think it helped Fifty Shades of Grey immensely.
Still, please understand that Fifty Shades of Grey isn't good. To its credit, though, it isn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.
The RyMickey Rating: C-