Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Movies

‘Fifty Shades Freed’ is as stupid-sexy as ever

Is it good for you? Do you see fireworks or a Freudian train entering a tunnel? Because Fifty Shades Freed is all up in your libido, finishing the job this softcore trilogy set out to do, stupid-sexier than ever.

After an ultra-kinky courtship, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey are now married, opening up new avenues of dominance and submission to explore. Any bump in the road — jealousy, work, a madman chasing them — is easily solved with a thrust and a nuzzle.

Nudity isn’t optional anymore. By now we can sketch Dakota Johnson’s and Jamie Dornan’s bodies from memory. It’s a relief on one occasion when Christian begins removing Ana’s dress and the movie cuts away to clothed folks. Not for long, of course.

Fifty Shades Freed is the inevitable result of an accidental franchise born in literature and raised by cashing in. There is nowhere logical for the story to go since it wasn’t intended to run this long. Sex is everything in this movie because nothing emotional or thrilling registers beyond the moment.

Since these sexual encounters need some linking device, director James Foley keeps it simple. Ana and Christian’s Parisian honeymoon is interrupted by news that his corporation’s computers have been hacked (and burned for good measure). It’s the dirty work of Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), a generic villain with a grudge to be determined later. Now back to the bedroom, kitchen, wherever the urge hits.

Marriage has some interesting effects on Ana and Christian that screenwriter Niall Leonard, adapting wife E.L. James’ novel, doesn’t give enough attention. There’s a feminist glimmer to some of Ana’s behavior putting Christian on his heels including her shutdown of an architect (Arielle Kebbel) eyeing her man.

Yet this assertive development is constantly contradicted by Ana’s submission. Christian’s protective nature ruffles her independence yet she’ll beg a bodyguard to not tell him she went for drinks with a girlfriend after work. He does, and it’s time out time in the Red Room, where Christian keeps his home depot of sexual devices. Meanwhile, the libertine Christian turns a bit prudish, making Ana cover up on a topless Riviera beach. He gets jelly about a handsome novelist Ana meets and miffed when she keeps her maiden name email address. This occasional flipping of their sexual dynamic is amusing, if not clever.

More often laughs are unintentional, depending on what Ana and Christian are doing before sex. A high speed car chase pauses in a parking lot for a quickie. A nightmare rattles Ana but it’s nothing a few ice cream games can’t solve. These kids never stop. When Ana learns she’s pregnant, you’re tempted to yell "It’s about time!" at the screen. Fifty Shades Freed concludes with a montage of what may be every single time they kept their clothes on during the trilogy. Don’t know about you, but I’m spent.

Contact Steve Persall at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.

Comments
At 50, Clearwater's real-life superhero is hanging up his super suit

At 50, Clearwater's real-life superhero is hanging up his super suit

CLEARWATER — For two decades, Dale Pople patrolled the streets feeding the homeless, helping old people carry groceries, extinguishing a car fire. He wore a red, yellow and blue Spandex outfit with an SH emblem: "Super Hero." Now, Clearwater&...
Published: 09/21/18
Updated: 09/24/18
Gilda Radner is remembered in her own words in the documentary ‘Love, Gilda’

Gilda Radner is remembered in her own words in the documentary ‘Love, Gilda’

With the aid of rare audio recordings, the late Saturday Night Live comic force Gilda Radner narrates the story of her life in the new documentary Love, Gilda, opening Friday at Tampa Theatre.But it wasn’t easy initially for director Lisa D’Apolito t...
Published: 09/20/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls,’ ‘Life Itself,’ locally filmed ‘The Favorite’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls,’ ‘Life Itself,’ locally filmed ‘The Favorite’

NOW PLAYING: THE FAVORITEFilmed in Pinellas County, the faith-based movie The Favorite continues its run in local theaters this week. It follows two brothers (Matthew Fahey and Luke Bernard, who also co-wrote the screenplay based on his own life) rec...
Published: 09/19/18
‘Smokey and the Bandit’ returns to theaters today, honoring Burt Reynolds

‘Smokey and the Bandit’ returns to theaters today, honoring Burt Reynolds

For the next nine days, AMC Theaters will take you east bound and down once more as the late Burt Reynolds’ iconic 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit returns to theaters in the Tampa Bay area.The theater chain announced it will be bringing Bandit, Fred,...
Published: 09/12/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘The Predator,’ ‘A Simple Favor,’ ‘White Boy Rick,’ ‘Unbroken’ sequel

What’s in theaters this week: ‘The Predator,’ ‘A Simple Favor,’ ‘White Boy Rick,’ ‘Unbroken’ sequel

OPENING FRIDAY: The Predator A young boy (Jacob Tremblay) inadvertently prompts the return to Earth of the now genetically enhanced killing creatures. With Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn and Sterling K. Brown. Direc...
Published: 09/12/18
Glenn Close is a six-time Oscar nominee. With ‘The Wife,’ she deserves to finally win.

Glenn Close is a six-time Oscar nominee. With ‘The Wife,’ she deserves to finally win.

When The Wife first appeared on the festival circuit last year, the call went up almost immediately: This, finally, might be the movie to win Glenn Close the Oscar that has eluded her over the course of six — count-’em — six nominations.The movie is ...
Updated one month ago
Burt Reynolds, who described Tampa as 'my other hometown,' dies at 82

Burt Reynolds, who described Tampa as 'my other hometown,' dies at 82

Burt Reynolds, whose blend of Southern-fried machismo and wise-guy playfulness launched his worldwide celebrity in the 1970s, first as a freewheeling chat-show guest, then as a nude centerfold in Cosmopolitan magazine and finally as a Hollywood actio...
Updated one month ago
Oscars’ popular film award is postponed after backlash

Oscars’ popular film award is postponed after backlash

The organization that bestows the Academy Awards says it is suspending plans to award a new Oscar for popular films amid widespread backlash to the idea. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says it will further study plans for the categor...
Updated one month ago
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Peppermint,’ ‘The Nun,’ ‘God Bless the Broken Road’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Peppermint,’ ‘The Nun,’ ‘God Bless the Broken Road’

OPENING FRIDAY:THE NUNA troubled priest (Demian Bichir, above) and a novitiate sent by the Vatican to investigate a suicide and an abbey in Romania are confronted by the same malevolent force from The Conjuring 2. With Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, ...
Updated one month ago
What’s in theaters Labor Day weekend: ‘Operation Finale,’ ‘Searching,’ ‘Kin’

What’s in theaters Labor Day weekend: ‘Operation Finale,’ ‘Searching,’ ‘Kin’

NOW PLAYING: OPERATION FINALE Oscar Isaac plays an Israeli agent tasked with spiriting Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley, right) out of Argentina to stand trial for war crimes 15 years after World War II. The case was the subject of a...
Updated one month ago