FIFTY SHADES OF BLACK
zero stars (out of 5)
January 29, 2016
Marlon Wayans as CHRISTIAN
Kali Hawk as HANNAH
Fred Willard as GARY
Mike Epps as RON
Affion Crockett as ELI
Jane Seymour as CLAIRE
Florence Henderson as MRS. ROBINSON
Andrew Bachelor as JESSE
Jenny Zigrino as KATEESHA
Studio: Open Road
Directed by: Michael Tiddes
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
What happened to spoof movies? There was a time when spoofs were actually funny… a time when they actually took some creative thought and some clever jokes… a time when they didn’t explain the punch lines or did something more than simply reference another movie or trend.
I’m not just talking about the halcyon days of Mel Brooks movies and the “Airplane!” and “Naked Gun” movies. Sure, the 70s and 80s were the glory days of spoofs, but even into the 1990s, there were some significantly funny ones. Heck, the Wayans (spearheaded by oldest brother Keenan Ivory Wayans) gave us some hilarious films like “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” and the original “Scary Movie” installments.
All this started to go downhill with Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. These guys destroyed spoof movies in the 2000s with such terrible flicks as “Meet the Spartans,” “Disaster Movie” and “Epic Movie.” Still, when their vapid humorless brand of filmmaking tripe finally started to fade, we got a dose of Marlon Wayans.
Marlon Wayans, with no help from his regular comedy partner Shawn or his older brothers Keenan Ivory and Damon, gave us the found footage send-up “A Haunted House.” It was terrible. It was worse than terrible. “A Haunted House” and its sequel “A Haunted House 2” were some of the worst films of those years. It’s no wonder Marlon’s family wanted nothing to do with it.
The biggest problem with the “Haunted House” movies, which bleeds into the problems with “Fifty Shades of Black,” is that they’re woefully half-baked. It’s as if Marlon brought the idea to his brothers, and they offered to help him workshop it into a funny movie. Instead of working with people who knew what they were doing, Marlon seemed to go on his own and arrogantly make it himself, delivering a crass and inconsistent final product.
“Fifty Shades of Black” is no different. This time, instead of going after modern found footage movies, Wayans targets last year’s horny housewife porn prose-turned-blockbuster “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Of course, this begs the question as to whether there’s actually enough material in that vacuous story to mine an entire feature-length film. The answer, unsurprisingly, is no.
In essence “Fifty Shades of Black” simply retells the basic set-up of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” featuring a virginal college writer who falls for a wealthy businessman who is emotionally damaged and into kinky BDSM sex. The movie hits all the story beats from “Fifty Shades of Grey” and tries to insert awkward humor throughout the process.
The problem is none of the jokes are funny. They are often desperately trying to spin off of current pop culture material (including both Bill Cosby and now-out-of-date undefeated Rhonda Rousey joke) or just going for in-your-face raunchiness with none of the necessary subtleties. Even the jokes that could work aren’t continued from scene to scene, making the actually character backgrounds confusing, as well as sight gags that are shown once but then forgotten through the rest of the film.
In the end, “Fifty Shades of Black” caused me to laugh just one single time, which I’ll admit was at a moment of exhaustion following a predictable bathroom humor gag. Even the group of teenagers that snuck in the screening I saw got bored about half-way through the movie and left. You heard that right: People who paid nothing to see this movie still felt cheated.
“Fifty Shades of Black” is about as funny as a used colostomy bag.
No, scratch that. A used colostomy bag is way funnier.