I went in to Book Club with the hope that I’d enjoy something similar to the good charm and humour that made the likes of The Golden Girls and Grace & Frankie a hit. My level of disappointment in the film is therefore, at least in part, my own fault. Even though my expectations may have been unfairly high, there still shouldn’t be an excuse for all the things about Book Club that had my head lowered in disappointment as I sat in the movie theatre.
Co-written and directed by Bill Holderman, Book Clubis a comedy about four older women whose lives change forever after they read Fifty Shades of Grey. Generally speaking, I love stories of beautiful friendships between older women. It’s unfortunate that this particular story just wasn’t executed nearly well enough.
One or two moving moments nearer the end aside, the most I did in response to the films humour during the 1 hour, 44 minute run time was smile mildly. The fact that most, if not all of the funniest lines were used in the trailer didn’t help matters.
My biggest issue with Book Club, besides Diane Keaton’s Character’s two annoying daughters has to be the way the whole thing, or at least the first half felt like a rehearsal rather than the finished product. I say this particularlybecause the chemistry between the four friends is poor. I didn’t buy their connections. The rhythm of their conversations was off. The lines were sometimes not delivered in a way that rang true to my ears. Another thing I noticed is that Jane Fonda’s character seemed to be on a different level and not necessarily in a bad way. One might argue that her commitment to her character was on a level that the rest of the cast didn’t quite join her on and they should have.
Much like what the Fifty Shades Of Grey movies proved, if the writing / source material is bad, no amount of work during and after the filming process can disguise that truth. Book Club needed more story and character development overall, as well as more rehearsal.
More than anything, Book Club for me is now simply another reminder of how hard it is to make a great film, let alone a good one.
If I had to pick a favourite moment besides all the ones when I noticed Don Johnson’s character’s impeccable dress sense, it would be the one piece of moving dialogue that included the words ‘…love is just a word, until someone gives it meaning…’