50 Shades of Black

2016-02-19 08:07

What it's about:

A direct, scene-by-scene "spoof" of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.

What we thought:

I'm not sure if the self-parody nature of Fifty Shades of Grey makes it easier or harder to take the piss out of the ultra-popular BDSM(ish) literary sensation but it's surely riper material for "spoofing" than Fifty Shades of Black would suggest.

Marlon Wayans' latest crime against cinema and good taste starts off with this utterly perplexing sequence where Wayan's Christian Black ("Black", not "Grey" because he's a black man – geddit? Geddit? Yeah, me neither) goes off on a petty theft spree. The sequence is so utterly laugh-free that it took me a full minute to realise this was supposed to be a joke about... about... well, that's exactly the problem: I have no idea what the joke was supposed to be. Is it a satire on how corporate greed is like stealing, is it a comment about how ill-defined Christian Grey's company is or is it just some limp race joke about how black people make their money? I'm kind of assuming the latter, since the film is filled with this sort of vapid, retrograde racial humour that is neither cutting nor remotely funny.

Either way, though, things don't exactly get much better from there on out. Most of the "gags" are more understandable, I guess, but they're no less lame and no less unfunny. And, really, let's be clear here: to say that Fifty Shades of Black is utterly, utterly laugh-free doesn't quite adequately capture just how anti-funny it is. 

After all, laughs are one thing but the occasional smirk, titter or even Harrison-Ford-like lopsided grin can alleviate mostly dire comedies. Fifty Shades of Black, though, is not funny in much the same way that a computer is not a cantaloupe or a Kardashian is not talented. "Funny" doesn't even enter Marlon Wayan's vocabulary. I suppose some might be offended by the crude sexuality on display (though hey, if you thought Fifty Shades of Grey was lacking in prosthetically enhanced full-frontal male nudity, you're in luck!) or the really, really weird racial politics on display but personally, I find nothing in a comedy as offensive as an utter lack of humour.

I could kind of leave it at that but to add insult to lobotomy, just what the hell are Jane Seymour and the comedy legend that is Fred Willard doing in this steaming dung heap? I know that roles sadly dry up for older actors but come on, guys, you're better than this. Though, of course, I could say the same about Robert Deniro in the still very slightly worse Dirty Grandpa

And it's not just established veterans that are getting shafted here. Kali Hawk, as the film's "Hannah Steale" (even mad magazine could have thought of a better spoof name than that!) actually does a pretty good impression of Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades of Grey, but she is given less than nothing to actually do with it. In fact, even through her obvious embarrassment here, she actually has enough natural charisma (and, yeah, beauty) to make it very easy to see her becoming a major movie star down the road. And, if her bio on the Internet Movie Database is to be believed, she has both the intelligence and the talent to pull it off. She should probably burn all trace of this train wreck from her show reel first, though...    

The potential of Ms Hawk aside, though, Fifty Shades of Black is strictly for those screaming lunatics out there who are looking for a shot-by-shot remake of Fifty Shades of Grey but with significantly fewer laughs.

Oh and if more of you go and see this crap this weekend than the genuinely hilarious Hail Caesar! then you have no one but yourselves to blame for Fifty Shades Blacker. Though, considering that these things can be made for about the price of a six-pack of Coke, I'm kind of afraid that there is nothing that any of us could do to stop the Wayans driving the once proud spoof-film institution into the ground. Now, there's a scary thought. 

Read more on:    marlon wayans  |  movies

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