Fans of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie may have been nervous when they heard the nonsensically-titled sequel would have a different director. They can rest easy, as James Foley seems committed to preserving the atmosphere of flavorless tedium and unsexy smut established by Sam Taylor-Johnson (and, I assume, carried over from E.L. James' novels). This time, bland billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) persuades spineless Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) to be his girlfriend again by promising to keep the sex “vanilla” and un-kinky. When he immediately starts acting possessive and controlling, she identifies this as a problem, but stays with him. Why? Dunno. The film has numerous potentially juicy subplots, including encounters with the woman (Kim Basinger) who Mrs. Robinson’d Christian years ago and with one of his previous, now-unhinged submissives (Bella Heathcote), but each time melodrama or conflict arises, it is hastily, tidily resolved by the next scene. For a movie about intense emotions, it’s curiously flat, with characters who are supposedly in love but don’t have anything to talk about besides their relationship. Oh, yeah: They have sex, too. It’s nothing special.
Director: James Foley
Producer: Michael De Luca, E.L. James, Dana Brunetti and Marcus Viscidi
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Eloise Mumford, Bella Heathcote, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Max Martini, Bruce Altman, Kim Basinger, Marcia Harden, Andrew Airlie, Robinne Lee, Amy Price-Francis and Fay Masterson